$28 Million Awarded to Whistleblower by SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced an award of more than $28 million to a whistleblower whose information led to both an SEC enforcement action and an investigation by another federal agency.  The regulatory actions resulted in significant enforcement actions.

According to Reuters, the whistleblower’s tip led U.S. authorities to bring bribery charges against a subsidiary of Panasonic Corp.  In 2018, Panasonic Avionics Corp consented to pay approximately $280 million to settle criminal and civil charges that the company falsified its financial records to conceal payments to sales agents in China and other parts of Asia.

The $28 million award is the tenth-largest in the SEC’s Whistleblower Program’s history.

In 2021, the SEC has awarded more than $132 million to whistleblowers, including approximately $85 million to nine individuals just in May 2021.  In total, since the program’s inception in 2011, the SEC has awarded more than $900 million to 163 individuals.  At its current clip, the program may reach a milestone of $1 billion in whistleblower awards before the end of the year.

All awards are paid out of an investor protection fund established by Congress that is financed entirely through monetary sanctions paid to the SEC by securities law violators. No money has been taken or withheld from harmed investors to pay whistleblower awards.

Congress established the whistleblower program to incentivize whistleblowers with specific, timely, and credible information about federal securities laws violations to report to the SEC.  A whistleblower may receive an award if they voluntarily provide the SEC with qualifying information, leading to successful enforcement. The award can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected due to the enforcement action.

Individuals who have information regarding fraud or other violations of federal securities laws should contact law firm Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free consultation to review your legal rights on how to file a whistleblower tip to the SEC and preserve eligibility to receive a whistleblower award.

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