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How Much Money Has the SEC Paid Whistleblowers?

The SEC whistleblower program was launched in 2011 as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. It was intended to create incentives to blow the whistle on fraud in the financial industry—and the chief incentive it offers is money. In this post, we outline exactly how much money—and how you can participate, if you’re ready to come forward as an SEC whistleblower.

SEC Whistleblowers and Their Awards

According to statistics on the SEC’s own website, whistleblowers brought more than 26,000 tips to the agency in the first seven years of the whistleblower program. In all, the agency says it has awarded more than $500 million to whistleblowers, which resulted from SEC enforcement actions that brought in more than $2 billion.

The Dodd-Frank Act says the enforcement action must bring in more than $1 million, and that whistleblowers stand to gain an award of 10 to 30 percent of any recovery. Since 10% of $1 million is $100,000, this means the minimum award will be slightly over that amount. However, the SEC says its top ten awards are considerably higher than that, ranging from $18 million to $50 million. That’s based on the amount of the penalty the wrongdoer pays the SEC, so the award could be even higher.

For example, the SEC’s highest-ever recovery from whistleblower tips, as of March 2018, led to awards totaling $83 million. (This money was shared out among three whistleblowers.) The agency did not disclose which case this was, but its list of noteworthy enforcement actions for 2017 included outright fraud, overcharges by major financial institutions, deceptive accounting or statements to investors, stock price manipulation, and insider trading.

Disclose Information—The Right Way

If you have non-public or non-obvious information on wrongdoing by an SEC-regulated organization, you may be eligible for this kind of award. But in order to receive an award, you need to bring your information to the SEC carefully—with your identity protected, following the legally required processes, and without unduly implicating yourself in a crime. An SEC whistleblower attorney can be an important part of doing this “the right way,” because—unlike the SEC itself—your attorney is involved to protect your interests first and foremost.

The Law Firm of David R. Chase and the Silver Law Group offer this kind of representation to people across the United States who want to do the public service of revealing wrongdoing while still protecting their own interests. Our team has substantial experience handling securities fraud litigation and arbitration—Scott Silver authored a definitive guide to the SEC whistleblower process, and David Chase brings the insider knowledge of a former SEC Enforcement Division attorney. If you’d like to set up a meeting to talk about what you know and how you can bring it to light, contact us today through our website or call us at 800.975.4345.

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