Over the past year, the Securities and Exchange Commission received more than 3,000 whistleblower tips from all 50 states and from 49 countries, according to the agency's 2012 Annual Report on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program released today.
The report, which is required by the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, summarizes the activities of the SEC's Office of the Whistleblower.
"In just its first year, the whistleblower program already has proven to be a valuable tool in helping us ferret out financial fraud," said SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro. "When insiders provide us with high-quality road maps of fraudulent wrongdoing, it reduces the length of time we spend investigating and saves the agency substantial resources."
Among other things, the report notes:
- The SEC made its first award under the new program to a whistleblower who helped the SEC stop an ongoing multi-million dollar fraud. The whistleblower received an award of 30 percent of the amount collected in the SEC's enforcement action, which is the maximum percentage payout allowed by law.
- The SEC received 3,001 tips, complaints, and referrals from whistleblowers from individuals in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico as well as 49 countries outside of the United States.
- The most common complaints related to corporate disclosures and financials (18.2 percent), offering fraud (15.5 percent), and manipulation (15.2 percent).
- There were 143 enforcement judgments and orders issued during fiscal year 2012 that potentially qualify as eligible for a whistleblower award. The Office of the Whistleblower provided the public with notice of these actions because they involved sanctions exceeding the statutory threshold of more than $1 million.
Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC can pay financial awards to whistleblowers who provide high-quality, original information about a possible securities law violation that leads to a successful SEC enforcement action with more than $1 million in monetary sanctions. The SEC is authorized to pay the whistleblower 10 to 30 percent of the sanctions collected. Awards are paid from the Investor Protection Fund established by Congress to fund payments.
Information on eligibility requirements, directions on how to submit a tip or complaint, instructions on how to apply for an award, and answers to frequently asked questions are available at: www.sec.gov/whistleblower.