Jane Norberg to leave SEC after nearly $650m in whistleblower awards

Rick Steves

While “crime never pays” is far from being true, “no one likes a tattletale” has completely lost its meaning in the United States. The SEC likes tattletales and it has never been more rewarding to expose criminals.

Jane Norberg is leaving the SEC, the financial watchdog announced. Under her leadership, the Office of the Whistleblower issued nearly $650 million to more than 110 whistleblowers.

Nine nine of the ten largest whistleblower awards in the program’s history were issued since Ms. Norberg became Chief in 2016.

She has streamlined the awards review and adjudication process, managed an expansion of the Office’s staff, and oversaw a dramatic growth in the number of awards issued to whistleblowers under the program.

SEC Acting Chair Allison Herren Lee said: “Throughout her time in the Office of the Whistleblower, Jane has demonstrated unwavering dedication to our whistleblower program. As head of that office, Jane’s commitment, talent, and laser focus on the interests of whistleblowers made her an invaluable member of our team.”

Melissa Hodgman, Acting Chair of the Division of Enforcement, added, “Under her leadership, the program has enhanced investor protection and championed whistleblowers. The program has outpaced itself year after year during Jane’s tenure, and resulted in significant benefits to the overall enforcement program. We will miss her.”

Jane Norberg commented on her departure and praised the whistleblower team as a powerhouse of talent and resolve: “Their dedication to the mission of the Office is evident in the record-breaking numbers of awards the team has produced even under the burdens of the current pandemic. Being part of such a pivotal program has been an extraordinary honor.”

In 2020, the number of awards issued to whistleblowers was tripled and the Commission received a record number of whistleblower tips.

In the first six months of Fiscal Year 2021, $200 million has been awarded to 40 individuals under the program, already surpassing the record set in FY20.

The program allowed the SEC to bring successful enforcement actions that resulted in orders for more than $3.1 billion in sanctions, including more than $1.8 billion in disgorgement of ill-gotten gains and interest, of which over $760 million has been, or is scheduled to be, returned to harmed investors.

The Whistleblower Office’s Deputy Chief, Emily Pasquinelli, will serve as Acting Chief following Ms. Norberg’s departure.

The SEC has recently crossed the $750 million threshold in awards since 2012 after awarding more than $1.7 million to two whistleblowers in separate proceedings.

One was awarded $900,000 for providing significant evidence, including a critical declaration, that helped expedite an ongoing investigation and enabled the SEC to shut down an ongoing fraudulent scheme preying on retail investors.

The other received over $800,000 for providing important evidence of false and misleading statements made to investors, resulting in the return of millions to harmed investors.

In February, the SEC awarded $9.2 million to an individual who provided significant information about an ongoing fraud to the SEC that enabled a large amount of money to be returned to investors harmed by the fraud.

Whistleblower awards can range from 10-30% of the money collected when the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million.

While “crime never pays” is far from being absolute truth, “no one likes a tattletale” has completely lost its meaning in the United States. The SEC likes tattletales and it has never been more rewarding to expose criminals.

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