The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced awards totaling approximately $10.4 million to several whistleblowers who provided information and assistance in three separate covered actions.
In the first order, the SEC issued awards totaling approximately $7.5 million to two whistleblowers. Both whistleblowers provided new and significant information during an existing investigation, alerting SEC staff to misconduct occurring in different geographic areas. The first whistleblower also received an award for contributing to an action brought by another agency.
In the second order, the SEC issued more than $2.4 million to two whistleblowers whose information led to the success of the enforcement action. The first whistleblower’s information prompted the opening of the investigation and provided key pieces of evidence. The second whistleblower provided information that significantly contributed to the ongoing investigation.
In the third order, the SEC awarded three individuals approximately $435,000. The first two individuals jointly alerted SEC staff to the fraudulent conduct, which prompted the opening of the investigation, and continued to provide assistance during the investigation. The third individual provided new, detailed and highly valuable information early in the investigation that was instrumental in assisting the staff to develop the case.
“Today’s whistleblowers provided information and assistance that proved critical to several enforcement actions,” said Creola Kelly, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “Their information allowed the agency to conserve significant resources and to bring each action more efficiently.”
The SEC has awarded approximately $1.2 billion to 233 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 a successful enforcement action. Whistleblower awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected when the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million.
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Mark Astarita is a nationally recognized securities attorney, who represents investors, financial professionals and firms in securities litigation, arbitration and regulatory matters, including SEC and FINRA investigations and enforcement proceedings.
He is a partner in the national securities law firm Sallah Astarita & Cox, LLC, and the founder of The Securities Law Home Page - SECLaw.com, which was one of the first legal topic sites on the Internet. It went online in 1995 and is updated daily with news, commentary and securities law related links.