The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced the largest Dodd-Frank whistleblower award to date, with two whistleblowers sharing a nearly $50 million award, and a third whistleblower receiving more than $33 million. The previous high was a $30 million award in 2014. The lawyer representing all three whistleblowers is a member of the TAF Education Fund.
“These awards demonstrate that whistleblowers can provide the SEC with incredibly significant information that enables us to pursue and remedy serious violations that might otherwise go unnoticed,” said Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “We hope that these awards encourage others with specific, high-quality information regarding securities laws violations to step forward and report it to the SEC.”
In February, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that in order to collect an award under Dodd-Frank, a whistleblower must first report the alleged securities violations to the SEC.
Since issuing its first award in 2012, the SEC Whistleblower Program has awarded more than $264 million to 54 whistleblowers. The latest award was for $2.2 million and it went to a whistleblower who first reported the fraud to another agency, but reported the same information to the SEC within 120 days.
“Whistleblowers, especially non-lawyers, may not always know where to report, or may report to multiple agencies,” said Jane Norberg, chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, in a statement. “This award shows that whistleblowers can still receive an award if they first report to another agency, as long as they also report their information to the SEC within the 120-day safe harbor period and their information otherwise meets the eligibility criteria for an award.”
Whistleblower tips to the SEC have risen steadily, from just 334 in 2011 to 3,001 in FY 2012, and 4,484 for FY 2017.