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Catch of the Week — SEC Hands Two Whistleblowers $54 Million

Posted  September 7, 2018

The SEC announced late this week that it had issued two whistleblower rewards totaling $54 million. Of the total reward, one tipster received $39 million-the second-largest reward the SEC has ever granted-while a second received $15 million, the eighth-largest award yet granted. The SEC commended both whistleblowers for providing “critical information and continued assistance” that “helped the agency bring an important enforcement action.”

Just what that enforcement action was, as well as the identity of the two whistleblowers, remains unknown. The SEC is serious about whistleblower anonymity and committed to protecting confidentiality to the fullest extent possible-so serious and committed that it routinely issues awards with no hint as to whistleblower identity and no information about the underlying enforcement action. In some cases, even the SEC may not know a tipster’s identity. Under program rules, whistleblower submissions may be made anonymously so long as the whistleblower is represented by an attorney.

The payout announced this week brings the total SEC whistleblower program awards to date to more than $320 million. The SEC’s announcement of the award also comes on the heels of statements earlier in the week from Jina Choi, head of the SEC’s San Francisco unit, indicating the Commission is intensifying efforts to investigate private companies.

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Tagged in: Anonymity, Catch of the Week, SEC Whistleblower Reward Program,