SEC Receives 3,000 Whistleblower Tips in 2012
In just its first year, the SEC said its whistleblower program brought in more than 3,000 tips from all 50 states and 49 other countries.
According to the agency’s 2012 Annual Report on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program released Thursday, the most common complaints related to corporate disclosures and financials (18.2%), offering fraud (15.5%), and manipulation (15.2%).
There were 143 enforcement judgments and orders issued during fiscal year 2012 that potentially qualify as eligible for a whistleblower award, the SEC said.
The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower provided the public with notice of these actions because they involved sanctions exceeding the statutory threshold of more than $1 million, the agency said.
The SEC said it made its first award under the new program to a whistleblower who helped the agency stop an ongoing multi-million dollar fraud. The whistleblower received an award of 30% of the amount collected in the SEC's enforcement action, which is the maximum percentage payout allowed by law.
"In just its first year, the whistleblower program already has proven to be a valuable tool in helping us ferret out financial fraud," said SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro. "When insiders provide us with high-quality road maps of fraudulent wrongdoing, it reduces the length of time we spend investigating and saves the agency substantial resources."
Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC said it can pay financial awards to whistleblowers who provide high-quality, original information about a possible securities law violation that leads to a successful SEC enforcement action with more than $1 million in monetary sanctions.
The SEC said it is authorized to pay the whistleblower 10% to 30% of the sanctions collected. Awards are paid from the Investor Protection Fund established by Congress to fund payments.
The agency said it received 3,001 tips, complaints, and referrals from whistleblowers from individuals in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as well as 49 countries outside of the United States.