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SEC Awards Whistleblower Maximum Possible Share of Settlement in Dodd-Frank Retaliation Case

On April 28, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it was awarding a whistleblower 30 percent of funds recovered in settlement of the Commission’s first retaliation charges brought under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank).

The whistleblower’s share will be more than $600,000. In deciding to award the maximum 30 percent, the SEC’s Claims Review Staff weighed heavily the “substantial evidence that the whistleblower suffered unique hardships as a result of reporting.”

In the Matter of Paradigm Capital Management, Inc. and Candace King Weir, File No. 3-15930 (June 16, 2014), the SEC charged the hedge fund investment adviser with retaliating against the whistleblower for reporting what the whistleblower believed to be misconduct to the SEC. The SEC found that Paradigm removed the whistleblower from the whistleblower’s then-current position, changed the whistleblower’s job function, and removed the whistleblower’s supervisory responsibilities, among other retaliatory acts.

The SEC rewards whistleblowers that provide original information that leads to an SEC enforcement action with sanctions exceeding $1 million. Whistleblowers may receive from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money the SEC collects.
Since the whistleblower program started in 2012, the SEC has awarded 17 whistleblowers an aggregate amount of more than $50 million.

The Dodd-Frank Act was passed in 2010 to tighten financial regulations in the wake of the 2008 fiscal crisis. Among other things, it offered new protections to encourage employees to report misdeeds at their companies. It is enforced by the SEC.

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