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SEC Reports 5,200 Whistleblower Tips Received in FY 2019

The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower recently issued its Whistleblower Program Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Annual Report to Congress.  FY 2019 marked the eighth full year for the Whistleblower Office, and over that period the SEC awarded approximately $387 million to 67 individuals. In 2019, the SEC awarded approximately $60 million in whistleblower awards to eight individuals whose information and cooperation helped to effect successful enforcement actions. The Commission received over 5,200 whistleblower tips, the second highest number of tips received in a fiscal year and a 74 percent increase since the beginning of the program. Tips were received from both domestic and foreign sources, including from individuals in 70 countries. The tips covered a broad range of allegation types, including nearly 300 tips relating to cryptocurrencies. According to the report, the Commission made its third largest award to date—a $37 million award to a whistleblower. This award followed a $50 million award to joint claimants in March 2018 and a $39 million award to a whistleblower in September 2018. Last year, the SEC proposed amendments to the program, including a proposed framework to guide the SEC’s discretion in the case of awards over $30 million. Some industry watchers characterized the proposal as a cap on whistleblower awards that could deter potential whistleblowers. SEC Chairman Jay Clayton addressed the criticism in a statement, saying the proposal was not a cap on awards and reiterated the SEC’s support of the whistleblower program.

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