Today the SEC Office of the Whistleblower announced the largest-ever award to an SEC whistleblower: $30 million to a whistleblower living abroad.
The size of the award reflects the SEC’s seriousness about utilizing whistleblowers’ information to expose major securities violations. The SEC described this as “ongoing fraud that would have been very difficult to detect” without the whistleblower, according to the Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, Andrew Ceresney.
Sean McKessy, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, added that this award demonstrates the “international breadth” of the SEC whistleblower program.
We have followed the SEC Whistleblower Program from its birth in the 2010 Dodd-Frank legislation, when we were consulted by Senate staff on what would make it successful. When we met with each SEC Commissioner in 2011 to provide input on the Rules for the new whistleblower program, we were encouraged that the SEC would make effective use of this important new tool for protecting investors.
Since 2010, the SEC has added to its ranks industry specialists with backgrounds that better enable the SEC to work cases brought by whistleblowers with “inside” knowledge of the financial industry.
The $30 million award should only attract more persons with knowledge of significant securities fraud and other violations. We applaud Sean McKessy and his staff for this groundbreaking award.