WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- A whistle-blower got $14 million as a reward for giving tips that helped recover substantial investor funds, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said.
The SEC reward, its largest tipster payout ever, is linked to the recovery of as much as $140 million, a United Press International calculation indicated.
The information and other help the unnamed whistle-blower provided let the SEC complete its investigation more quickly than would otherwise have been possible, the regulator said.
"Less than six months after receiving the whistle-blower's tip, the SEC was able to bring an enforcement action against the perpetrators and secure investor funds," the SEC said in a statement, without indicating the amount of funds it secured.
The SEC enforces federal securities laws and regulates the U.S. securities industry, stock and options exchanges and other electronic securities markets.
"Our whistle-blower program already has had a big impact on our investigations by providing us with high-quality, meaningful tips," SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White said.
"We hope an award like this encourages more individuals with information to come forward," she said.
The award is the largest made by the SEC's whistle-blower program to date, the agency said.
The program's first award was about $50,000, given to a whistle-blower in August 2012. In the past two months the program, started in 2011 under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, handed out more than $25,000 to three people who helped "halt a sham hedge fund," the SEC said.
Awards range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected in a case, meaning the $14 million tip led to the collection of $47 million to $140 million.
The payouts come from a separate fund struck under Dodd-Frank and thus don't come from the agency's budget or reduce amounts recovered for injured investors, the SEC said.
The regulator is required to protect the confidentiality of whistle-blowers and cannot, by law, disclose any information that might directly or indirectly reveal a whistle-blower's identity.