The SEC awarded more than $22 million Tuesday to a whistleblower whose “detailed tip and extensive assistance” helped stop a well-hidden fraud at the company where the whistleblower worked.
A lawyer said his client, a former Monsanto finance employee, received the award. Stuart Meissner didn’t identify his client.
Monsanto paid $80 million in February to resolve allegations of accounting violations for a rebate program related to the weed killer Roundup
Monsanto said it didn’t have any comment about the whistleblower award.
By law, the SEC protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and doesn’t disclose information that might reveal a whistleblower’s identity.
Tuesday’s award is the second biggest since the SEC whistleblower program started in 2011.
The biggest, $30 million, was awarded in 2014.
In June this year, the SEC awarded $17 million to a whistleblower.
A 2013 award topped $14 million.
The SEC has now awarded $107 million to 33 whistleblowers.
Whistleblowers become eligible for an award by voluntarily providing the SEC with “original and useful information” that leads to a successful enforcement action of more than $1 million.
Awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected through an enforcement action.
Jane Norberg, acting chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, said Tuesday: “Company employees are in unique positions behind-the-scenes to unravel complex or deeply buried wrongdoing.”
“Without this whistleblower’s courage, information, and assistance, it would have been extremely difficult for law enforcement to discover this securities fraud on its own,” she said.
The SEC received more than 4,000 tips last year.
Reports this week said the SEC paid its first FCPA-related whistleblower award in May. A BHP Billiton insider was awarded $3.75 million for information related to an investigation into bribery of Asian and African officials during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the reports said.
The SEC’s redacted August 30, 2016 whistleblower award order is here (pdf).
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He’ll be the keynote speaker at the FCPA Blog NYC Conference 2016.