U.S. SEC reports rise in whistleblower tips in fiscal 2014

Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:17pm EST
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By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON Nov 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission received more than 3,500 tips from whistleblowers in fiscal year 2014, the largest number received since the program went into effect three years ago.

The SEC announced the increase in its Nov. 17 annual report, which tracks the success of the whistleblower program and how much it pays out each year in awards.

Fiscal 2014, which ended Sept. 30, marked a record year for the SEC's program, both in terms of the number of tips received and the amounts it awarded tipsters.

It authorized awards for nine whistleblowers, including a record payout of more than $30 million to a whistleblower overseas who had helped alert the SEC to what it described as an ongoing fraud.

The 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law gave the SEC the power to start a whistleblower program that lets the agency reward people who report misconduct, if that tip leads to the collection of more than $1 million in monetary sanctions.

The program was inspired in part by the Bernard Madoff scandal, in which the SEC received numerous tips about his Ponzi scheme but failed to detect the fraud for decades.

According to the SEC's report, the agency received 3,620 tips from whistleblowers in fiscal 2014, compared with 3,238 in fiscal 2013.

The SEC said it fielded over 2,700 phone calls from members of the public. It received tips from every state as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The states where the most tips originated included California, Florida, New York and Texas.   Continued...