The SEC issued an award of more than $9.2 million to a whistleblower who provided original information to the SEC that led to two successful related actions by the DOJ.
In this case, the whistleblower had previously received an award for his contributions to an SEC enforcement action based on the same information that supported the award for the related DOJ actions, one of which was a non-prosecution agreement ("NPA") or a deferred prosecution agreement ("DPA").
Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC's Office of the Whistleblower, stated: "This award reflects the Commission's determination that a whistleblower's eligibility for an award should not depend on the procedural vehicle a federal agency selects to resolve an enforcement matter. Deserving whistleblowers, like today's awardee, will be rewarded regardless of the path used to successfully conclude the matter."
Commentary Lex Urban
This is the first SEC whistleblower award for related actions by the DOJ since last year's amendments to the Whistleblower Program that confirmed that a DOJ NPA or DPA may be considered a related action that would entitle the whistleblower to an additional award. Being able to "double recover" only further incentivizes whistleblowers to come forward with allegations of misconduct. Fiscal year 2021 is already the single largest year for whistleblower awards in the agency's history, as almost $188 million has been paid since October 1, 2020, which surpasses last year's record-setting total of $175 million. Whistleblowers will continue to be a valuable resource utilized by the government, and companies need to ensure that they have adequate internal mechanisms to address whistleblowers and the conduct they report.
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