Yes. Even if the SEC already has information about a particular securities-law violation, you can still qualify for an award if your information “significantly contributes” to the success of a resulting SEC enforcement action. According to the SEC Whistleblower Office’s 2016 Annual Report to Congress, such information accounted for 40% of the awards in 2016. A whistleblower’s information may “significantly contribute” to an enforcement action in several ways, including if the information:
- allows the SEC to bring the enforcement action in significantly less time or with significantly less resources;
- expands the scope of the current investigation, leading to additional successful claims; or
- allows the SEC to bring claims against additional parties.
On May 13, 2016, the SEC issued an award of more than $3.5 million to a whistleblower who “bolstered an ongoing investigation with additional evidence of wrongdoing that strengthened the SEC’s case.” Per the press release accompanying that award, Mr. Ceresney, the SEC Enforcement Director, explained that “[w]histleblowers can receive an award not only when their tip initiates an investigation, but also when they provide new information or documentation that advances an existing inquiry.” He added, “This particular whistleblower’s tip substantially strengthened our ongoing case and increased our leverage during settlement negotiations with the company.”
To learn more about the SEC Whistleblower Program, download the eBook SEC Whistleblower Program: Tips from SEC Whistleblower Attorneys to Maximize an SEC Whistleblower Award.
Chapter 1 – What is the SEC Whistleblower Program?
Chapter 6- Who Is An Eligible SEC Whistleblower?