Wisconsin workers may be interested in a case involving an unidentified individual who received a $30 million award from the Securities and Exchange Commission under the agency’s whistle-blower program. In a statement announcing the award, a spokeswoman for the SEC only said that the person was located outside of the United States. In its statement, the SEC would not name the company or the individual who committed the fraud.
This was the fourth award given to someone outside of the United States. A representative from the SEC’s division of enforcement said that the fraud would have been difficult to detect without the information provided. The $30 million award was the highest ever given to a whistle-blower by the SEC, with the previous record at $14 million. However, the amount is much lower than a $104 million award the IRS gave to a UBS banker.
The SEC whistle-blower program started in 2012, and those who come forward are awarded 10 to 30 percent of any money recovered. Since the program began, 14 awards have been handed out with nine of them coming in 2014. This latest award from the SEC came shortly after Attorney General Eric Holder said that he would ask Congress to increase the awards given to whistle-blowers.
Publicly-held companies are required to have strict corporate governance procedures in place. If an individual alerts management to fraud or suspected unethical business practices, it may be worthwhile to report that information to the SEC as well. Those who know about fraud or shady business practices may wish to hire a business law attorney who may be able to help the whistle-blower take steps to pursue the action under the False Claims Act or other statute.
Source: CNN Money, “SEC awards $30 million to whistleblower“, Aaron Smith, September 22, 2014