Modest & mysterious: SEC’s issues first whistleblower award

by Kurt Schulzke

For the past three months, suspense has been building among the whistleblower bar over how much the SEC would pay to whom and why.  Now we know . . . not much except that the first award was for $50,000, paid to _________, in relation to a case that remains mostly a mystery.  With this announcement, the SEC have provided little data witch which to evaluate risks and potential rewards of blowing the whistle on securities fraud.

From a whistleblower standpoint, upsides to this announcement are that (a) the SEC actually paid a whistleblower award, in contrast to the IRS which, six years into its 7623(b) program appears to have still paid nothing, (b) the SEC generously awarded the mystery whistleblower the full 30% available under the statute, and (c) the whistleblower’s identity remains a mystery, at least to the public.

It is difficulty, however, to evaluate the generosity of this SEC award because we know nothing about the efforts expended by the mystery whistleblower, the process that produced the award, or the facts on which the award was based. We have no way to evaluate the SEC’s efficiency and effectiveness in using the information delivered by this whistleblower. That said, a small award is better than none at all.

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