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SEC awards $110 million to whistleblower, its second-largest payout ever

September 15, 2021, 8:30 PM UTC

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission awarded $110 million to a tipster whose information resulted in enforcement actions, bringing total payments under the agency’s whistleblower program to more than $1 billion. 

The tipster’s award, the second-largest ever, includes $40 million from the SEC and $70 million from a related action brought by another agency, according to a statement Wednesday. Under the SEC’s whistleblower program, tipsters can be paid for information that prompts sanctions by another agency. 

“Today’s announcement underscores the important role that whistleblowers play in helping the SEC detect, investigate and prosecute potential violations of the securities laws,” SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in the statement. “The assistance that whistleblowers provide is crucial to the SEC’s ability to enforce the rules of the road for our capital markets.”

The SEC has made disbursements to 207 tipsters since issuing its first award in 2012. Individuals are eligible for payments ranging from 10% to 30% of the fines collected in enforcement cases where penalties exceed $1 million. Funds used to pay tipsters don’t come out of disgorgement, the portion of a sanction that’s supposed to be returned to harmed investors.

Neither the whistleblowers nor the firms accused of misconduct were identified by the SEC, in keeping with the federal government’s policy of withholding information that could reveal a tipster’s identity.

The biggest award given to a whistleblower was $114 million in October 2020.

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