Largest SEC Whistleblower Awards to Date
Since 2012, the SEC has issued more than $1.7 billion in SEC whistleblower awards, including multi-million dollar awards to our clients. Our firm’s experienced and effective SEC whistleblower attorneys have secured awards for whistleblowers disclosing a wide range of federal securities violations, including:
- Accounting fraud;
- Investment fraud;
- Ponzi schemes;
- Foreign bribery and FCPA violations;
- EB-5 investment fraud;
- Fraudulent securities offerings;
- Improper revenue recognition;
- Inadequate internal controls; and
- Violations of auditor independence rules.
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 alone, the SEC awarded $564 million to 108 whistleblowers–both the largest dollar amount and the largest number of individuals awarded in a single year. And in FY 2022, the SEC Whistleblower Program continued its momentum and issued $230 million in awards to 103 whistleblowers. We provide a free confidential consultation to help you determine if you may qualify for an SEC whistleblower award.
The largest SEC whistleblower awards to date are:
- $279 million SEC whistleblower award (May 5, 2023);
- $114 million SEC whistleblower award (October 22, 2020);
- $110 million SEC whistleblower award (September 15, 2021);
- $104 million SEC whistleblower award (August 4, 2023);
- $50 million SEC whistleblower award (April 15, 2021);
- $50 million SEC whistleblower award (June 4, 2020);
- $50 million SEC whistleblower award (March 19, 2018);
- $39 million SEC whistleblower award (September 6, 2018);
- $37 million SEC whistleblower award (December 19, 2022);
- $37 million SEC whistleblower award (January 21, 2022);
- $37 million SEC whistleblower award (March 26, 2019);
- $36 million SEC whistleblower award (September 24, 2021);
- $33 million SEC whistleblower award (March 19, 2018);
- $32 million SEC whistleblower award (October 15, 2021);
- $30 million SEC whistleblower award (September 22, 2014);
- $28 million SEC whistleblower award (January 23, 2023);
- $28 million SEC whistleblower award (May 19, 2021);
- $28 million SEC whistleblower award (November 3, 2020);
- $27 million SEC whistleblower award (May 17, 2021);
- $27 million SEC whistleblower award (April 16, 2020);
- $23 million SEC whistleblower award (June 2, 2021);
- $22 million SEC whistleblower award (May 10, 2021);
- $22 million SEC whistleblower award (September 30, 2020);
- $22 million SEC whistleblower award (August 30, 2016); and
- $20 million SEC whistleblower award (November 28, 2022).
Under the SEC Whistleblower Program, the SEC is required to pay awards to eligible whistleblowers who provide original information that leads to successful SEC enforcement actions with total monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million.
A whistleblower may receive a reward of between 10% and 30% of the total monetary sanctions collected. See some of the SEC whistleblower cases that have resulted in large SEC whistleblower payouts and a summary of the ways in which an experienced and effective SEC whistleblower law firm can help you secure an award.
Find out today if you might qualify for an SEC whistleblower award. Contact the Director of our SEC whistleblower practice at [email protected] or call our leading SEC whistleblower lawyers at (202) 930-5901 or (202) 262-8959.
In conjunction with our courageous clients, our experienced SEC whistleblower lawyers have helped the SEC halt multi-million dollar investment schemes, expose violations at large publicly traded companies, and return funds to defrauded investors. And we have helped our clients obtain multi-million dollar awards.
Recently the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners published a profile of SEC whistleblower lawyer Matt Stock’s success working with whistleblowers to fight fraud:
Click below to hear SEC whistleblower lawyer Matt Stock’s tips for SEC whistleblowers:
Details of SEC Whistleblower Awards
The details of most payouts are not publicly available because many whistleblowers file anonymously through attorneys. An experienced SEC whistleblower attorney can skillfully guide whistleblowers through the process, maximizing the likelihood that their identity is not revealed to unauthorized parties. In addition, the SEC goes to great lengths to not reveal any information, including any details about the enforcement action, that could expose the whistleblower.
SEC Whistleblower Lawyer’s Guide to SEC Whistleblower Process Process for a Payout
SEC Whistleblower Law Firm – Tier 1 Firm
If you are seeking representation in an SEC whistleblower award case, contact the Director of our SEC whistleblower practice at [email protected] or call our leading SEC whistleblower lawyers at (202) 930-5901 or (202) 262-8959. All inquiries are confidential.
In conjunction with our courageous clients, we have helped the SEC halt multi-million dollar investment schemes, expose violations at large publicly traded companies and return funds to defrauded investors.
Read our tips for SEC whistleblowers and Forbes column about the success of the SEC whistleblower program. We represent whistleblowers worldwide.
In 2020, Washingtonian magazine named two of our attorneys top whistleblower lawyers, and U.S. News and Best Lawyers® have named Zuckerman Law a Tier 1 firm in Litigation – Labor and Employment in the Washington DC metropolitan area.
Tracking SEC Whistleblower Awards
The table below identifies some of the largest awards that the SEC has provided to whistleblowers:
|Whistleblower Award||Date||Basis for Whistleblower Award|
|$279 million||May 5, 2023||On May 5, 2023, the SEC announced its largest-ever award, nearly $279 million, to a whistleblower whose information and assistance led to the successful enforcement of SEC and related actions.|
|$114 million||October 22, 2020||On October 22, 2020, the SEC announced an award of $114 million to a whistleblower whose information and "substantial, ongoing assistance" led to the successful enforcement of SEC and related actions. The award consisted of an approximately $52 million award in connection with the SEC case and an approximately $62 million award arising out of the related actions by another agency.|
|$110 million||September 15, 2021||On September 15, 2021, the SEC announced its second-largest whistleblower award of $110 million. According to the press release announcing the award, the award consists of an approximately $40 million award in connection with an SEC case and an approximately $70 million award arising out of related actions by another agency. With the award, the SEC Whistleblower Program has now paid more than $1 billion in awards to whistleblowers.|
|August 4, 2023||On August 4, 2023, the SEC announced an award of $104 million to seven individuals whose information and assistance led to a successful SEC enforcement action and related actions brought by another agency.|
|$50 million||April 15, 2021||On April 15, 2021, the SEC announced a $50 million award to joint whistleblowers. The press release announcing the award stated, "The joint whistleblowers provided exemplary assistance to the SEC staff during the investigation, including meeting with staff numerous times and providing voluminous detailed documents. The information provided by these individuals resulted in the return of tens of millions of dollars to harmed investors."|
|$50 million||June 4, 2020||On June 4, 2020, the SEC announced its then largest-ever whistleblower award of $50 million to a whistleblower. In the press release announcing the award, the Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, Jane Norberg, stated: "This award is the largest individual whistleblower award announced by the SEC since the inception of the program, and brings the total awarded to whistleblowers by the SEC to over $500 million, including over $100 million in this fiscal year alone. Whistleblowers have proven to be a critical tool in the enforcement arsenal to combat fraud and protect investors."|
|$50 and $33 million||March 19, 2018||On March 19, 2018, the SEC announced an award of $50 million to two whistleblowers and an award of $33 million to another whistleblower. See the SEC's order determining the whistleblowers' award claims here.|
|$39 and $15 million||September 6, 2018||On September 6, 2018, the SEC announced its second-largest SEC whistleblower award to date of $39 million. According to the SEC's Press Release, the whistleblowers provided critical information and continued assistance that helped the SEC bring an important enforcement action.|
|$37 and $13 million||March 26, 2019||On March 26, 2019, the SEC announced its third-highest SEC whistleblower award to date of $37 million. Another whistleblower received a $13 million award in the same action, totaling $50 million in awards to the two whistleblowers.|
|$36 million||September 24, 2021||The Securities and Exchange Commission announced an award of approximately $36 million to a whistleblower "whose information and assistance significantly contributed to the success of an SEC enforcement action as well as actions by another federal agency."
According to the SEC's press release announcing the award, "the whistleblower provided crucial information on an illegal scheme to the SEC's and the other agency's staffs, which included multiple meetings and the identification of key documents and witnesses. Under the SEC's whistleblower program, individuals who provide critical information to other agencies may be eligible for a related action award if they are also eligible for an award in the underlying SEC action."
|$30 million||September 22, 2014||A foreign whistleblower came to the SEC with “information about an ongoing fraud that would have been very difficult to detect.”
This award underscores that non-US citizens are eligible whistleblowers in the SEC Whistleblower Program.
|$28 million||May 19, 2021||On May 19, 2021, the SEC announced an award to a whistleblower totaling more than $28 million in connection with an SEC enforcement action and a related action by another federal agency. The whistleblower’s information caused both the SEC and the other agency to open investigations that resulted in significant enforcement actions.|
|$28 million||November 3, 2020||The SEC issued a $28 million award to a whistleblower who "provided significant information that aided the SEC in bringing a successful enforcement action." According to the press release announcing the award, the whistleblower "internally reported information that prompted the company to initiate an internal investigation, and saved the staff time and resources by providing testimony and identifying a key witness."
|$27 million||May 17, 2021||The SEC awarded almost $27 million to two whistleblowers who provided SEC staff with "new information and assistance during an existing investigation, including meeting with the staff in person on multiple days." According to the SEC's press release, the whistleblowers' "information and cooperation helped the Commission bring the enforcement action, which resulted in the return of millions of dollars to harmed investors."|
|$27 million||April 16, 2020||The SEC issued a $27 million award to a whistleblower who alerted the agency to misconduct occurring, in part, overseas. After providing the tip to the SEC, the whistleblower provided critical investigative leads that advanced the investigation and saved significant SEC resources. For more information, click here.|
|$23 million||June 2, 2021||The SEC issued two awards of approximately $13 million and $10 million to two whistleblowers whose information and assistance led to successful SEC and related actions. According to the SEC's press release: "The whistleblowers’ information and assistance led to multiple successful enforcement actions related to a complex and fraudulent scheme involving multiple individuals and tens of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains.”|
|$22 million||May 10, 2021||On May 20, 2021, the SEC issued awards totaling $22 million to two whistleblowers whose information and assistance were of "crucial importance to successful SEC enforcement actions brought against a financial services firm." According to the SEC's press release: "The first whistleblower received an award of $18 million, while the second whistleblower received a $4 million award [because] the first whistleblower was the initial source of the investigation while the second whistleblower submitted information much later after the investigation was already underway."|
|$22 million||September 30, 2021||The SEC issued an award of almost $30 million to two insider whistleblowers whose tips led SEC staff to open an investigation. The first whistleblower, who was the first to alert SEC staff of potential wrongdoing and provided substantial, ongoing assistance, received an award of approximately $22 million. The second whistleblower provided additional valuable information, which significantly contributed to the success of the SEC's enforcement action, and received an award of approximately $7 million.|
|$22 million||August 30, 2016||A former financial executive at Monsanto exposed weaknesses in the company’s internal controls that failed to account for millions of dollars in rebates. Monsanto agreed to settle the allegations of accounting fraud for $80 million.
Importantly, external auditors, internal auditors, accountants and other compliance personnel may be eligible for awards under the SEC Whistleblower Program. Indeed, they are often best positioned to discover wrongdoing.
|$20 million||November 14, 2016||According to the SEC's order determining the whistleblower awards, three whistleblowers applied for awards related to the enforcement action. The SEC denied two of the whistleblowers' applications because they did not provide "original information," and issued the full $20 million award to one whistleblower.|
|$18 million||April 28, 2020||The SEC announced an award of more than $18 million to a whistleblower whose tip prompted an enforcement action that returned millions of dollars to retail investors.|
|$17 million||June 9, 2016||A company insider “substantially advanced the agency’s investigation and ultimate enforcement action.”
This award highlights that whistleblowers may receive an award if they provide original information regarding an open SEC investigation if it significantly contributes to the success of the action.
|$16 million||November 30, 2017||Two whistleblowers received awards of more than $8 million each for providing the SEC with critical information that led to a successful enforcement action.
This award demonstrates how whistleblowers can receive an increased award percentage for providing ongoing, extensive, and timely assistance to the SEC. As detailed in the SEC's order, the second whistleblower received the same $8 million award as the first whistleblower by providing additional significant information and ongoing assistance to the SEC that "enabled the Enforcement staff to more fully and quickly understand the misconduct and to assess the legal consequences... [which] saved a substantial amount of time and resources in the Investigation."
|$14 million||September 30, 2013||The whistleblower exposed a fraudulent offering that targeted foreign investors who sought to gain a legal pathway to citizenship through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.|
|$9.2 million||February 23, 2021||The whistleblower provided significant information about an ongoing fraud to the SEC that enabled a large amount of money to be returned to investors harmed by the fraud. In addition, the whistleblower information led to successful related actions by the DOJ, one of which was a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) or deferred prosecution agreement (DPA). The award marks the first SEC whistleblower "related action" award based on a NPA or DPA with the DOJ since amendments to the SEC’s whistleblower program rules became effective on Dec. 7, 2020.|
|$7 million||January 23, 2017||Three whistleblowers split an award of more than $7 million after helping the SEC prosecute an investment scheme.
One whistleblower provided information that was the primary reason that the SEC opened an investigation. That whistleblower received a more than $4 million award. Two other whistleblowers jointly provided new information during the SEC’s investigation that significantly contributed to the success of the SEC’s enforcement action. Those two whistleblowers will split more than $3 million.
|$5.5 million||January 6, 2017||An anonymous whistleblower orally provided the SEC with critical information about ongoing securities fraud. Generally, the SEC requires that whistleblower provide information “in writing.” However, the SEC waived that requirement in this case due to “highly unusual circumstances” and awarded the whistleblower more than $5.5 million for the information.
This award marks the third time that the SEC has deemed it appropriate to waive a procedural requirement. The most recent exception occurred on July 27, 2017, when the SEC issued a $1.7 million whistleblower award to an insider who failed to comply with all of the whistleblower program's rules and had some culpability in the fraud. The former chief of the SEC whistleblower office said that these awards underscore the SEC’s discretionary authority to do what justice requires.
|$5 million||April 20, 2020||The SEC issued a $5 million award to a whistleblower who provided significant information that led to a successful enforcement action. According to the SEC, the whistleblower provided critical evidence of wrongdoing, which helped save time and resources in the SEC’s investigation, and the whistleblower suffered a unique hardship as a result of raising concerns internally.|
|$5 million||May 17, 2016||A former company insider’s detailed tip led the agency to uncover securities violations that would have been nearly impossible for it to detect but for the whistleblower’s information. The SEC's press release noted that employees are often best positioned to witness wrongdoing.
|$4 million||April 25, 2017||The SEC issued the $4 million award to an anonymous whistleblower who provided information that led another governmental authority to a successful enforcement action resulting in significant monetary sanctions. This award highlights that SEC whistleblowers may be eligible for awards for "related actions."|
|$4 million||September 30, 2016||The SEC issued the award to an anonymous whistleblower for “alter[ing] the agency to a fraud.”
The lack of publicly available information about the anonymous whistleblower and the enforcement action underscores how serious the SEC is about protecting whistleblower's. Under the program, whistleblower may report anonymously through an SEC whistleblower attorney.
|$3.8 million||July 14, 2020||The SEC issued a $3.8 million award to a whistleblower that provided new information
during the course of an ongoing investigation into a fraudulent scheme. According to the order announcing the award, the information that the whistleblower provided “helped the Commission halt an ongoing fraud and return millions of dollars to harmed investors.”
|$3.5 million||May 13, 2016||The whistleblower “bolstered an ongoing investigation with additional evidence of wrongdoing” which helped the SEC during settlement discussions with the company.
This award underscores how whistleblowers may still receive an award even if the SEC already has an open investigation into a matter.
SEC Whistleblower Program
Click below to hear SEC whistleblower lawyer Matt Stock’s tips for SEC whistleblowers:
To learn more about the SEC Whistleblower Program, download Zuckerman Law’s eBook: SEC Whistleblower Program: Tips from SEC Whistleblower Attorneys to Maximize an SEC Whistleblower Award:
How to Report Information to the SEC Whistleblower Program and Qualify for an SEC Whistleblower Award
The SEC whistleblower process is lengthy and complex. See below for articles responding to frequently asked questions by SEC whistleblowers.
- What is the SEC Office of the Whistleblower?
- What are the largest SEC whistleblower awards?
- Can I submit a tip anonymously to the SEC Office of the Whistleblower?
- What exactly does anonymous whistleblowing entail?
- What employment protections are available for SEC whistleblowers?
- What violations qualify for an SEC whistleblower award?
- Can the SEC bring enforcement actions against international schemes?
- Who is an “eligible” SEC whistleblower?
- Can compliance personnel, auditors, officers or directors qualify for SEC whistleblower awards?
- Can I submit a claim if I had some involvement in the fraud or misconduct?
- Can culpable whistleblowers qualify for SEC whistleblower awards?
- Do I have to report a potential violation to my company before reporting it to the SEC?
- What type of evidence should I provide to the SEC?
- Can I use confidential company documents to expose fraud?
- Can I disclose secret recordings to the SEC?
- Can I submit a tip if I agreed to a confidentiality provision in an employment/severance agreement?
- When is the best time to report the fraud or misconduct to the SEC?
- What is “original information”?
- Can I submit an SEC Whistleblower claim if the SEC already has an open investigation into the matter?
- How might my information “lead to” a successful SEC enforcement action?
- What “related actions” qualify for an SEC whistleblower award?
- How do the best SEC whistleblower law firms advocate for whistleblowers?
- How do I choose the best whistleblower attorney?
- Why should I choose the Zuckerman Law to represent me in my SEC whistleblower claim?
- How do I submit a tip to the SEC Office of the Whistleblower?
- What happens after I submit a tip to the SEC Office of the Whistleblower?
- What is the full process for a whistleblower to receive an award?
- What factors does the SEC consider when determining the amount of the award?
- What happens after I apply for an SEC whistleblower award?
- What is the process to appeal the SEC’s award determination?
- How long does it take to receive an SEC whistleblower award?
Top-Rated SEC Whistleblower Lawyers
We have assembled a team of leading whistleblower lawyers to provide top-notch representation to SEC whistleblowers. Recently Washingtonian magazine named two of our attorneys top whistleblower lawyers. U.S. News and Best Lawyers® have named Zuckerman Law a Tier 1 Law Firm in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.
- Matt Stock is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner and former KPMG external auditor. As an auditor, Stock developed expertise in financial statement analysis and internal controls testing and fraud recognition. He uses his auditing experience to help IRS, CFTC and SEC whistleblowers investigate and disclose complex financial frauds to the government and develop a roadmap for the SEC to take an enforcement action. Matt has been interviewed on CNBC, quoted extensively about whistleblower rewards in the media, and is the lead author of SEC Whistleblower Program: Tips from SEC Whistleblower Attorneys to Maximize an SEC Whistleblower Award.
- Dallas Hammer has extensive experience representing whistleblowers in retaliation and rewards claims and has written extensively about cybersecurity whistleblowing. He was selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® in the category of employment law in 2021 and 2022.
- Described by the National Law Journal as a “leading whistleblower attorney,” founding Principal Jason Zuckerman has established precedent under a wide range of whistleblower protection laws and obtained substantial compensation for his clients and recoveries for the government in whistleblower rewards and whistleblower retaliation cases. He served on the Department of Labor’s Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the Secretary of Labor to improve OSHA’s administration of federal whistleblower protection laws. Zuckerman also served as Senior Legal Advisor to the Special Counsel at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the federal agency charged with protecting whistleblowers in the federal government. At OSC, he oversaw investigations of whistleblower claims and obtained corrective action or relief for whistleblowers.
- Zuckerman was recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” (2020, 2018, 2017, 2015, 2009, and 2007), selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® in the category of employment law (2011-2021) and in SuperLawyers in the category of labor and employment law (2012 and 2015-2021), is rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo, based largely on client reviews, and is rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell based on peer reviews
- We have published extensively on whistleblower rights and protections, and speak nationwide at seminars and continuing legal education conferences. We blog about new developments under whistleblower retaliation and rewards laws at the Whistleblower Protection Law and SEC Awards Blog, and in 2019, the National Law Review awarded Zuckerman its “Go-To Thought Leadership Award” for his analysis of developments in whistleblower law.
- Our attorneys have been quoted by and published articles in leading business, accounting, and legal periodicals, including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, MarketWatch, Vox, Accounting Today, Going Concern, Law360 – Expert Analysis, Investopedia, The National Law Review, inSecurities, Government Accountability Project, S&P Global Market Intelligence, Risk & Compliance Magazine, The D&O Diary, The Compliance and Ethics Blog, Compliance Week and other printed and electronic media.
SEC Whistleblower Reward Program
For example, when the SEC issued $30 million to an anonymous whistleblower, it did not identify the whistleblower, indicate where the whistleblower was from, or even disclose the case that the award was tied to. Andrew Ceresney, former director of the SEC’s enforcement division, simply said, “This whistleblower came to us with information about an ongoing fraud that would have been very difficult to detect.” The director also mentioned that the award could have been even bigger if the whistleblower had timelier reported the information to the SEC.
Not all whistleblowers wish to remain anonymous, however. On September 30, 2016, the SEC issued an award of more than $22 million to a former Monsanto executive. (Note: There are special eligibility rules for certain whistleblowers, such as executives, auditors, and compliance personnel.) According to the SEC’s press release, Monsanto lacked sufficient internal controls to account for millions of dollars in rebates. This control failure allowed the company to book a sizable amount of revenue without recognizing the costs associated with the rebates. This resulted in Monsanto’s materially misstating its consolidated earnings during a three-year period, ultimately leading to an $80 million penalty from the SEC. After the award was issued, the whistleblower spoke with reporters and revealed that he was a former executive at the company.
SEC Whistleblower Lawyer’s Guide to SEC Whistleblower Process Process for a Payout
SEC Whistleblower Awards
SEC Whistleblower Protections
SEC whistleblowers are protected against retaliation under the anti-retaliation provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Act. We have substantial experience litigating whistleblower retaliation claims. If you have suffered retaliation for whistleblowing, call us today at (202) 262-8959.Protections for SEC Whistleblowers Post-Digital Realty (11-6-2020)