Whistleblower Earns $3.5 Million Award for Bolstering Ongoing Investigation

The #SEC press release below stresses makes two main points.  First, the SEC whistleblower program has been growing legs and there has been a steady upward progression of whistleblower awards.  Second, for a whistleblower to receive an award the infromation provided does not necessarily have to trigger the investigation.  It is sufficient if information bolsters an on-going investigation.  Rather than take the SEC’s advice that you report your concerns directly to it, in our view the more prudent course is to bring your concerns to an experienced and reputable whistleblower law firm.  

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Washington D.C., May 13, 2016 —The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced a whistleblower award of more than $3.5 million to a company employee whose tip bolstered an ongoing investigation with additional evidence of wrongdoing that strengthened the SEC’s case.

The SEC noted that whistleblowers should be encouraged to come forward and report allegations of potential securities laws violations even if they think the SEC may already be looking into it.

“Whistleblowers can receive an award not only when their tip initiates an investigation, but also when they provide new information or documentation that advances an existing inquiry,” said Andrew Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.  “This particular whistleblower’s tip substantially strengthened our ongoing case and increased our leverage during settlement negotiations with the company.”

By law, the SEC protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and does not disclose information that might directly or indirectly reveal a whistleblower’s identity.

The SEC’s whistleblower program has now awarded more than $62 million to 28 whistleblowers since the program’s inception in 2011.  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.  Whistleblower awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected when the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million.  All payments are made out of an investor protection fund established by Congress that is financed 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.

For more information about the whistleblower program and how to report a tip:www.sec.gov/whistleblower.

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