When it comes to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), money is no object, at least when the time comes to make sure that informants and whistleblowers are handsomely rewarded for their fruitful tips.
The SEC agreed earlier this week to payouts of totaling $50 million for two whistleblowers who provided "high-quality information" to investigators that aided in the prosecution of a successful enforcement case (Source: "Two Whistleblowers Awarded $50 Million for Aiding SEC Case", Bloomberg).
These payments – $37 to one informant and $13 million in another – are part of more than $376 million the SEC has doled out to 61 people since 2012 as part of its whistleblower program. The $37 million payment was the third-largest payout in the program's history.
To be eligible for a payout, whistleblowers must voluntarily provide the SEC with specific, unique information that results in a successful enforcement case.
What does this mean for you?
When you find yourself on the wrong side of an SEC investigation or enforcement action, you know going in that you are dealing with a powerful opponent. They have a fearsome team of lawyers on their side pursuing the interests of the commission. This news shows that you are also up against the U.S. government's financial resources and they will not hesitate to pay informants to share information that is damaging to your defense.
You do not have the option of paying witnesses for information that undercuts the SEC, but you do have the option of hiring proven defense attorneys to make sure your side of the story is heard and your legal exposure is limited.