There has never been a better time to be a Whistleblower
The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) began its whistleblower program in August of 2011.
The concept was simple, to catch more bad guys and minimize the harm done to investors, the SEC created a program that would incentivize people with knowledge of possible securities law violations and other forms of fraud for sharing that information, allowing the SEC to more swiftly and efficiently hold accountable those responsible for unlawful conduct.
If the information proves to be original and leads to SEC action, the whistleblower is eligible for an award ranging between 10% and 30% of the money collected. Since the SEC would likely not have brought litigation without the information provided by the whistleblower, it is a win-win situation for all involved, especially the victims who otherwise may not have ever recouped any of their losses.
Since the start of the whistleblower program, the SEC has received more than 26,000 whistleblower submissions. Those tips have led to more than $3.5 billion in investor losses being recovered and over $842 million in awards being paid out to whistleblowers.
The SEC issued its first-ever whistleblower award (a $50,000 payout) on August 21, 2012. It was the only award during the first year of the program. That whistleblower was later awarded an additional $150,000 after more money was collected in the case.
In 2013, the SEC issued four awards, including a $14 million payout on October 2, 2013.
And over the years, the payouts have continued to trend up:
- 9 awards totaling over $32 million in 2014
- 8 awards totaling over $5 million in 2015
- 15 awards totaling around $82 million in 2016
- 13 awards totaling around $43 million in 2017
- 9 awards totaling around $147 million in 2018
- 11 awards totaling around $61 million in 2019
- 58 awards totaling around $349 million in 2020
- 29 awards totaling around $106 million so far in 2021**
Total whistleblower awards surpassed the:
- $100 million mark on August 30, 2016
- $200 million mark on March 19, 2018
- $300 million mark on September 6, 2018
- $400 million mark on April 16, 2020
- $500 million mark on June 4, 2020
- $600 million mark on October 2, 2020
- $700 million mark on November 3, 2020
- $800 million mark on April 15, 2021
To put things into better perspective:
- During the first 104 months of the program, from August 2011 through March 30, 2020, the SEC issued awards to 77 whistleblowers totaling $396 million.
- During the past 13 months, from April 1, 2020 through May 15, 2020, the SEC issued awards to 80 whistleblowers totaling $446 million.
5 of the biggest ever awards also occurred over the past 13 months:
- $114 million – October 22, 2020
- $50 million – April 15, 2021
- $50 million – March 19, 2018
- $50 million – June 4, 2020
- $39 million – September 6, 2018
- $37 million – March 26, 2019
- $33 million – March 19, 2018
- $30 million – September 22, 2014
- $28 million – November 3, 2020
- $27 million – April 16, 2020
Simply put, there has never been a time to be a whistleblower than right now.
Got a tip?
Do you have original information that could help the SEC recover funds for victims of fraud that you’d like to submit as a whistleblower? We’d love to hear from you.
Brenda Hamilton is a practicing securities attorney with more than 20 years of experience, recognized as an expert in securities and forensic law. Ms. Hamilton has represented investors, issuers and other victims of fraud in securities and white-collar matters, including several DOJ referrals and whistleblower submissions, some of which have resulted in whistleblower awards.
For further information about this securities law blog post, please contact Brenda Hamilton, Securities Attorney at 101 Plaza Real S, Suite 202 N, Boca Raton, Florida, (561) 416-8956, by email at [email protected] or visit www.securitieslawyer101.com. This securities law blog post is provided as a general informational service to clients and friends of Hamilton & Associates Law Group and should not be construed as, and does not constitute legal advice on any specific matter, nor does this message create an attorney-client relationship. Please note that the prior results discussed herein do not guarantee similar outcomes.