FY 2020 marks another successful year for U.S. whistleblower programs

by Kait Pararas, Program Manager

Published on February 17, 2021

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FY 2020 marks another successful year for U.S. whistleblower programs

Over the last several months, the year-end statistics have been released from the leading U.S. whistleblower programs created under the False Claims Act, Dodd-Frank Act, and IRS whistleblower law for Fiscal Year 2020, demonstrating their continued success.

FY 2020 was a record-setting year for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Whistleblower Program and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Whistleblower Program, which were both created under the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010.

The SEC brought 715 enforcement actions this past fiscal year, according to their annual report to Congress. Though these, the SEC “obtained judgments and orders totaling approximately $4.68 billion in disgorgement and penalties – a record amount for the Commission – and returned more than $600 million to harmed investors.” The agency also awarded approximately $175 million in whistleblower rewards to 39 individuals – the highest award amount and recipient number in program history.

Meanwhile, the CFTC received a record-setting number of whistleblower tips and whistleblower award claims in FY 2020. Ultimately, they awarded $20 million through 11 final orders to 16 whistleblowers.

The False Claims Act (FCA) also had another successful year. The Department of Justice (DOJ) reported that the U.S. government recovered over $2.2 billion in settlements and judgements from FCA violations in FY 2020. Over $1.6 billion of the funds recovered stemmed from lawsuits filed under the qui tam (whistleblower) provisions. The government awarded $309 million to whistleblowers.

Finally, the IRS Whistleblower Program collected $472 million in tax law violations exposed by whistleblowers in FY 2020 and issued over $86 million in awards to 169 whistleblowers.

Since 2011, law enforcement agencies implementing these four programs have collected a staggering $34.7 billion for the benefit of taxpayers and investors and paid nearly $6.5 billion in awards to whistleblowers.

As this data makes clear, whistleblower tips and reward programs are an incredibly powerful incentive for whistleblowers to speak up, and an enormous amount of funds are brought into U.S. government coffers as a direct result of whistleblowers’ bravery. NWC continues to support the strengthening of these programs as well as the implementation of similar ones around the world.

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