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SEC awards whistleblower $1.8 million

The SEC said last week it paid almost $2 million to three whistleblowers. The biggest award — about $1.8 million — went to one of the whistleblowers.

That whistleblower’s original information prompted the SEC to open its investigation. The whistleblower provided more information during the probe.

The SEC is legally barred from publicly naming whistleblowers who want to remain anonymous, or releasing information that could lead to their identification.

The other two whistleblowers will receive about $65,000 each for providing information after the investigation started.

The SEC whistleblower program began in 2011. Since then the agency has awarded more than $57 million to 26 whistleblowers.

The biggest award was more than $30 million in 2014. A 2013 award topped $14 million.

“Whistleblowers may be eligible for an award when they voluntarily provide the SEC with unique and useful information that leads to a successful enforcement action,” the agency said last week.

Whistleblower awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of recoveries when amounts collected are more than $1 million.

Last year, the SEC received a record 4,000 tips.

Sean McKessy, chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, said last week: “We’re seeing a significant uptick in whistleblower tips over prior years, and we believe that’s attributable to increased public awareness of our program and the tens of millions of dollars we’ve paid to whistleblowers for information that helped us bring successful enforcement actions.”

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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