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The SEC Hands Out $279 Million in Largest-Ever Whistleblower Award

2 mins
Updated by Michael Washburn
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In Brief

  • The SEC has awarded over $279 million in its biggest payout on record to a cooperative individual.
  • The award is more than double the previous record of $114 million in 2020.
  • The SEC's Office of the Whistleblower launched in 2011 as part of the Dodd-Frank reforms.
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The SEC has just handed out its largest-ever whistleblower award. The agency has given substantial awards before for assistance in busting securities law violators. But the new payout, to an unspecified recipient, is well over a quarter of a billion dollars.

Trying to make money in the crypto markets? Well, perhaps you’re in the wrong game. On Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today announced a record-breaking award for a whistleblower. The sum of $279 million went to an unnamed individual or individuals who helped the agency prosecute illicit activity. Although, even after enforcement actions have run their course, whistleblowers commonly remain anonymous to protect their identity.

Record-Breaking Whistleblower Payout

The award is more than double the $114 million paid out in October 2020.

“The whistleblower’s sustained assistance, including multiple interviews and written submissions, was critical to the success of these actions,” said Creola Kelly, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. 

“While the whistleblower’s information did not prompt the opening of the Commission’s investigation, their information expanded the scope of misconduct charged.”

Whistleblowers can receive an award ranging from 10% to 30% of the monetary sanctions collected by the SEC when the sanctions exceed $1 million. Congress established an investor protection fund to pay out the awards in 2011. The SEC’s fund comprises monetary sanctions paid by violators of securities laws. Harmed investors do not contribute any money towards whistleblower awards.

In March, the SEC handed out two separate awards of $3 million and $9 million for assisting in its enforcement.

Office Established After Dodd-Frank

The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower came into existence in 2011 as part of the Dodd-Frank reforms. The Dodd-Frank Act was a response to the financial crisis of 2008 and aimed to fix the financial industry by increasing openness, accountability, and investor protection.

Many countries have whistleblower hotlines to receive anonymous tips on financial crimes. Even if they don’t have specific offices to handle them. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has an anonymous hotline. France, Germany, and the other G7 nations have similar programs. However, Canada accepts complaints only in writing, either by email or regular mail.


In adherence to the Trust Project guidelines, BeInCrypto is committed to unbiased, transparent reporting. This news article aims to provide accurate, timely information. However, readers are advised to verify facts independently and consult with a professional before making any decisions based on this content.

Josh Adams
Josh is a reporter at BeInCrypto. He first worked as a journalist over a decade ago, initially covering music before moving into politics and current affairs. Josh first owned...