SEC’s $22M Whistleblower Award Brings Total Awards to over $100M
By Rosie Dawn Griffin
In a watershed moment for the SEC whistleblower program, a recently announced whistleblower reward of more than $22 million brings the SEC’s total awards to whistleblowers past the $100 million mark. The SEC has been tight-lipped about the whistleblower’s identity, as well as that of the wrongdoer, revealing only that the award goes to a corporate insider whose detailed tip and extensive assistance helped the agency halt a well-hidden fraud. Media reports identify the fraudster as Monsanto, and claim the wrongdoing related to the company’s top-selling “Roundup” herbicide.
The $22 million payout displaces a June 2016 award of $17 million to claim the title of the second largest award in the program’s five year history. The largest—$30 million—was awarded in September 2014. Since the program’s 2011 inception, the SEC has awarded more than $107 million to 33 whistleblowers who voluntarily provided the SEC original and useful information that ultimately led to a successful agency enforcement action.
Whistleblower awards can range from 10 to 30 percent of money collected from securities law violators where monetary sanctions exceed $1 million. The SEC is legally required to protect whistleblower confidentiality, and does not disclose information that might directly or indirectly reveal a whistleblower’s identity.