On April 5, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") announced that it has awarded $2.2 million to a whistleblower whose initial tip to another federal agency led to an SEC enforcement action. This marks the first instance in which the SEC has awarded a whistleblower for information from a tip that was previously reported to a different federal agency.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act ("Dodd-Frank") is one of many laws that protect consumers from fraudulent acts committed by corporations. In order to increase transparency and expose organizations that engage in illicit activity, Dodd-Frank includes a "whistleblower program" that incentivizes individuals to come forward with information regarding possible securities law violations. If the information is original and leads to a Securities and Exchange Committee ("SEC") enforcement action in which more than $1,000,000 in sanctions is ordered, the SEC is authorized to provide monetary awards between 10 to 30 percent of what it collects to the individual.
Under the Dodd-Frank Act, whistleblowers can receive sizable awards for notifying the Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) of securities fraud. The first payout -- close to $50,000 -- was made in 2012, and the whistleblower program continues to be effective. The S.E.C. is authorized to award between 10 and 30 percent of a sum collected by the government as a result of information provided by a whistleblower.
Four years ago, when the Dodd-Frank Act was signed into law, a program was started to protect whistleblowers from retaliation if they report securities violations. Whistleblowers can also receive monetary awards for providing information to the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, a recent ruling by a federal appeals court draws into question whether tipsters from overseas are afforded the same protections afforded to whistleblowers in the U.S.