The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower received 5,282 tips during FY2018, including 202 FCPA-related complaints.
Overall, tips came from individuals in 72 foreign countries and the United States.
The SEC’s fiscal year ended on September 30.
The agency paid the most rewards ever under the whistleblower program in FY2018 — more than $168 million to 13 individuals.
So far, only one FCPA enforcement action reportedly originated from an SEC whistleblower. In 2016, a BHP Billiton insider collected $3.75 million for information about FCPA offenses during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The SEC said it received more than a thousand tips in the past year about offering fraud, and nearly a thousand tips about corporate disclosures and financial statements.
During FY2017, there were 210 FCPA-related tips, 238 in FY2016, and 185 during FY2015.
The SEC’s whistleblower program has now awarded $322 million to 58 individuals since the first award in 2012.
In September, the agency awarded $39 million to one whistleblower and $15 million to another in the same case.
In March this year, two whistleblowers from Merrill Lynch shared a $50 million award from the SEC. In the same case another Merrill Lynch employee was awarded $33 million.
Awards are paid out of penalties the SEC collects from securities law violators.
Whistleblowers can be eligible for an award when they voluntarily provide the SEC with “original, timely, and credible information” that leads to a successful enforcement action.
Awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected when penalties are more than $1 million.
By law, the SEC protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and doesn’t disclose information that might reveal a whistleblower’s identity. Sometimes the whistleblowers identify themselves to the public.
The SEC’s 2018 Annual Report to Congress about the whistleblower program is here (pdf).
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.