S.E.C. announces largest ever whistleblower award totaling $83 million for Bank of America Settlement

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The Securities and Exchange Commission announced its largest-ever whistleblower awards,  $83 million combined going to three whistleblowers who helped the agency reach a $415 million settlement with  Bank of America Corp according to an SEC statement and a lawyer representing the whistleblowers. That 2016 settlement was the SEC’s second-biggest against a Wall Street bank. As part of the agreement, Bank of America resolved accusations that it misused customer cash and securities to generate profits, putting billions of dollars of customer assets at risk over a roughly six-year period.

The SEC, in keeping with its usual practice, didn’t specify Monday which settlement the whistleblower awards were connected to. But Jordan Thomas, a partner at Labaton Sucharow LLP who advises corporate whistleblowers, said he represented the three award recipients cited anonymously in the SEC announcement. Two recipients together were awarded roughly $50 million and another about $33 million.

Mr. Thomas confirmed that the whistleblowers provided original information to the SEC that helped the regulator in its investigation.An SEC spokesman declined to comment.

The SEC said the record awards show that whistleblowers can provide “incredibly significant information” that can help the regulator remedy serious violations. The previous record SEC whistleblower award was $30 million, in 2014.

SEC awards since 2012 now total more than $262 million to 53 whistleblowers. The money comes out of monetary sanctions paid to the SEC.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers