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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Compliance Pays: Employee Awarded ~$1.5M For Helping SEC With Its Case

Today, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it would award $1.4 million to $1.6 million to a compliance professional that provided information about an open enforcement action for a company they work for.

The compliance officer is said to have had a "reasonable basis" on which to base his/her actions. The identity of the officer was kept confidential. Here's a quote from the release:
When investors or the market could suffer substantial financial harm, our rules permit compliance officers to receive an award for reporting misconduct to the SEC. This compliance officer reported misconduct after responsible management at the entity became aware of potentially impending harm to investors and failed to take steps to prevent it. -Andrew Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. 
The legislation which made these awards possible was included in the Dodd-Frank Act signed in 2008. The money given to whistleblowers is included in the judgement and is not money taken away from the disbursement or fair fund established for harmed investors.

Since 2011, the program has paid over $50 million in reward funds. Just this year, the SEC won its first case against a company for penalizing employees for talking to the SEC -- you can read more about that case here.

To view a list of open enforcement actions visit the "Office of the Whistleblower" website.