Whistleblower Program Success Seen in Record Payouts


The whistleblower program operated under the auspices of the Securities and Exchange Commission had a banner year I 2018, receiving a greater number of tips than ever before, and paying out more in rewards to whistleblowers at the same time.

The program rewards people with insider information about fraud perpetrated on the government or the American public by providing them with financial rewards for coming forward with information that leads to successful recovery of funds. 

The SEC’s whistleblower program has been in place since 2011, and was enacted as part of a larger Wall Street reform package. In 2018 it awarded a total of over $168 million distributed to just 13 individuals for the fiscal year ending on September 30th. This amount represents more than the six previous years combined, a rate that is being attributed to the increased attention that has been called to successful whistleblower lawsuits.

Over 5,000 Whistleblower Tips Received This Year

According to the Office of the Whistleblower, a total of 5,282 tips were sent in this fiscal year, which is 18% more than were received in 2017. Calls originated from all over the United states and from 72 foreign countries. The program provides those whose information yields at least $1 million in fines with between 10 and 30 percent of the allocated fine, based on how heavily the prosecution relied upon the information provided, the level of cooperation, and more.

Among the awards distributed this year was $83 million divided between three individuals and almost $54 million divided between two individuals. Though there has been some talk about making changes to the rewards system that would lower the amount that whistleblowers received, legal experts have pushed back on that proposal, indicating that lower rewards would impede the program’s success and stop people from coming forward with tips. In addition to financial rewards, whistleblowers are provided with retaliation protection.

Author: Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor, and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.