SEC Awards Approximately $14 Million to Whistleblower

Washington, DC (STL.News) The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today announced an award of about $14 million to a whistleblower who published an online report exposing an ongoing fraud.  The whistleblower, who days later shared the same information with the SEC and was persistent in reaching out to the staff, prompted the opening of an investigation which resulted in a successful enforcement action and the return of millions of dollars to harmed investors.

“Whistleblowers can play a critical role in an investigation,” said Creola Kelly, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower.  “Here, the whistleblower posted a research report online outlining the allegations against the company and its officer and also, importantly, took expeditious steps to provide this information to the Commission.  This case demonstrates the importance of whistleblowers reporting directly to the SEC so that the agency can promptly investigate allegations of wrongdoing.”

The SEC has awarded approximately $1.2 billion to 249 individuals since issuing its first award in 2012.  All payments are made out of an investor protection fund established by Congress that is financed entirely through monetary sanctions paid to the SEC by securities law violators.  No money has been taken or withheld from harmed investors to pay whistleblower awards.  Whistleblowers may be eligible for an award when they voluntarily provide the SEC with original, timely, and credible information that leads to successful enforcement action.  Whistleblower awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected when the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million.

As set forth in the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and does not disclose information that could reveal a whistleblower’s identity.