On October 1, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had awarded over $14 million to an unnamed whistleblower who voluntarily came forward with information that led to a successful enforcement action and the recovery of a substantial amount of investor funds. In the official order setting forth the award determination, the Commission indicated that the award reflected the whistleblower’s level of cooperation, the significance of the information provided, and the Commission’s strong interest in deterring illegal conduct through the use of whistleblower awards.
The more than $14 million award is the largest handed out by the Commission since the inception of the Office of the Whistleblower in 2011. SEC Chair Mary Jo White stated that the Commission “hope[s] an award like this encourages more individuals with information to come forward.” Such insider cooperation and self-reporting has helped uncover fraudulent schemes at earlier stages, thereby lessening investor harm and allowing the Commission to conduct more efficient investigations. In this particular instance, it took less than six months from the receipt of the whistleblower’s tip for the Commission to initiate its enforcement action. Previous whistleblower payments have included a $50,000 award in August 2012 and a $125,000 award earlier this year.