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SEC Issues Largest Ever Whistleblower Award—More Than Double the Previous Top Award

In May of 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) officially announced the largest whistleblower award in the history of the program. At $279 million, the SEC whistleblower award is more than twice as high as the previous record, which was in October of 2020. Here, our Florida securities law whistleblower attorney explains what we know about this case and highlights some key things to understand about the SEC’s whistleblower program more broadly.

Whistleblower Disclosure Resulted in Major Enforcement Action By SEC 

The SEC publicly confirmed a record-breaking whistleblower award of approximately $279 million. Critical information and proactive collaboration by the whistleblower significantly contributed to successful enforcement action by the agency. Gurbir S. Grewal—the Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement—emphasized that the award’s magnitude underscores the whistleblower program’s success and encourages individuals to report securities law infringements. He also noted that whistleblower tips can make a dramatic difference.

Notably, there were two separate claimants that sought an SEC whistleblower award related to this case. The first claimant was the whistleblower who was granted the record-breaking award of nearly $280 million. However, the second claimant was denied any compensation. Upon review of all of the material facts, the SEC determined that the information provided by the second claimant neither contributed to the opening of the investigation nor contributed to successful enforcement action by federal securities regulators.

What You Need to Prove to Qualify for an SEC Whistleblower Award 

Obtaining a whistleblower award from the SEC can be complicated. You need to satisfy a number of different specific criteria. To be eligible for an award under the SEC’s Whistleblower Program, a claimant must generally prove all of the following required elements:

  • Voluntary Submission: Information must be provided voluntarily, not as a result of a subpoena, inquiry, or investigation by the SEC or other authority.
  • Original Information: The information must be original, derived from your independent knowledge or analysis, and not known to the SEC from any other source.
  • A Significant Contribution: The information must significantly contribute to the success of an SEC enforcement action. Among other things, this includes providing substantial assistance throughout the investigation, such as participating in interviews and submitting written documents.
  • Successful Enforcement Action By Agency: The information must lead to a successful SEC enforcement action resulting in monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million.
  • Compliance with Procedures and Policies: The whistleblower must comply with the Whistleblower Program’s rules and regulations, as well as internal procedures and policies if they are an employee of an involved entity. 

Contact Our Miami, FL SEC Whistleblower Award Attorney Today

At ​Carlson & Associates, P.A., we are committed to protecting the rights and the interests of whistleblowers in the securities industry. If you are preparing to make a confidential disclosure to regulators, our SEC whistleblower lawyers are more than ready to help. Give us a phone call now or connect with us directly online to arrange your fully private case evaluation.



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