SEC Awards More Than $10 Million to Whistleblower

On Sept. 14, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced it was issuing an award of more than $10 million to a whistleblower whose information and assistance were essential to a successful SEC fraud investigation. Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC's Office of the Whistleblower stated, "This award recognizes the persistent efforts of the whistleblower to expose serious financial misconduct." 

To earn the reward, the whistleblower did more than tip off the SEC. After filing information with the Office of the Whistleblower, the individual "provided extensive and ongoing assistance to the investigative team over the course of the investigation, including identifying witnesses and helping staff understand complex fact patterns and issues related to the matters under investigation."

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 created the SEC Whistleblower Program to incentivize individuals with inside information to come forward and expose securities fraud. The Whistleblower Program allows whistleblowers to receive a reward equal to 15 to 30 percent of the amount the government recovers in the enforcement action. Since issuing its first award in 2012, the SEC has paid approximately $520 million to 94 individuals

We believe this sizeable reward will prompt more whistleblowers to come forward. The SEC Whistleblower Program has become an essential tool to root out fraud in the securities industry. The mere fact that a whistleblower is protecting consumers and stabilizing the economy is already a potent incentive. But to earn $10 million in a few short months is life changing for rank-and-file workers in the industry. And this reward wasn’t even the record; SEC gave out a $50 million reward earlier this year.

To be eligible for a reward, an SEC whistleblower must:

  • Come forward voluntarily
  • Provide unique, nonpublic, timely, and credible information of a crime that becomes the basis for a successful enforcement action
  • Aid in the recovery of at least $1 million in sanctions

Whistleblowers can come forth anonymously, and have strong statutory protections against on-the-job retaliation. The SEC program is very strong on confidentiality. The whistleblower never gets outed. In fact, the SEC doesn’t even release the name of the offending company. Additionally, whistleblowers have statutory protections against retaliation, so if their employers suspect they blew the whistle and harass them, the whistleblowers could sue for civil damages and enjoy a second big payday.”

Those considering blowing the whistle should not go it alone. With the SEC program, if the investigators pass on your information, you’re done. You don’t have the option to file a qui tam lawsuit on your own like you can in other whistleblower situations. So, you want to make sure your presentation is in order, so anyone who reviews your file can see this is a case worth pursuing. That’s why you need to consult an experienced whistleblower attorney who has had success with the SEC program. 


Steve Halperin

New York trial attorney Steve T. Halperin is a well-known litigator with extensive knowledge of whistleblower laws and the New York False Claims Act. He has 28 years of experience as one of New York’s top tier attorneys. From the Manhattan offices of HalperinBikel, Steve’s whistleblower cases can run the gamut from lawsuits against healthcare. Whistleblowers: A New Yorker’s Step By Step Guide systems and providers cheating on New York Medicaid to private companies providing worthless services, or false billings by government contractors. With hundreds of winning verdicts and favorable settlements in healthcare and corporate cases, attorney Halperin’s meticulous preparation, courtroom acuity, and client-centered professionalism create remarkable outcomes.

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