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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Securities and Exchange Commission is giving its biggest award yet, about $30 million, to a whistleblower who provided key information that led to an enforcement action in a fraud case.
The agency announced the award Monday. It was the SEC's 14th whistleblower award under a program adopted in 2011 and the fourth award to a whistleblower living in a foreign country. The nature of the enforcement action and the identity of the whistleblower weren't disclosed.
The largest award previously was $14 million in October 2013.
Under the program, tipsters who report corporate fraud or other misconduct are eligible if they give the SEC information that leads to an enforcement action resulting in more than $1 million in penalties. They can receive from 10 to 30 percent of the money the SEC recovers from a company or person.
The whistleblower program was mandated by the Wall Street overhaul law enacted in 2010 in response to the financial crisis. A number of big U.S. companies objected to it.
The program gives whistleblowers a financial incentive to report misconduct to company authorities. Once employees report potential wrongdoing to their company, the SEC can officially designate them as whistleblowers, possibly eligible for awards — provided they give the SEC the same information within 120 days.