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(Reuters) — An anonymous tipster living abroad will receive $30 million in the largest whistleblower award ever doled out by U.S. securities regulators as part of a program that aims to encourage insiders to report wrongdoing.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said on Monday that the whistleblower provided crucial information that helped investigators uncover a “difficult to detect” ongoing fraud.
“This record-breaking award sends a strong message about our commitment to whistleblowers and the value they bring to law enforcement,” SEC Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney said.
The SEC won new powers in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law to entice whistleblowers with monetary awards. Prior to the new law, the SEC was only able to reward people for helping on insider-trading cases.
The new program lets the SEC pay a whistleblower who provides tips and original information that leads to an enforcement action with sanctions that exceed $1 million.
The SEC can award a whistleblower anywhere between 10% and 30% of the money the agency collects.
By law, the SEC is not allowed to reveal the identity of whistleblowers, and so as a result it does not disclose which case a whistleblower helped to crack.
Settlements with the SEC large enough to justify a $30 million award are uncommon.
Monday's announcement marks the fourth time the SEC has agreed to award a whistleblower living abroad — a fact that the agency said demonstrates the “international breadth” of the program.
Since the inception of the program in fiscal year 2012, the SEC has awarded more than a dozen whistleblowers. Monday's $30 million award is more than double the previous record of $14 million, awarded to a whistleblower in 2013.
An Alabama health system and a physicians group have reached a $24.5 million settlement of a whistleblower lawsuit, in which they were charged with violating the False Claims Act by paying or receiving kickbacks in connection with claims to the Medicare program, the Department of Justice said Monday.