The Securities and Exchange Commission awarded a whistleblower who was a former employee at an investment firm $325,000 for giving the agency a “detailed description of the misconduct” and specifically identifying individuals behind the wrongdoing, which helped the SEC bring a successful enforcement action.

The whistleblower’s information enabled the SEC’s enforcement staff to open an investigation and uncover the extent of the fraudulent activity.

However, the whistleblower’s award could have been higher had they not waited until after leaving the firm to come forward, the SEC said.

“Corporate insiders who become aware of securities law violations are encouraged to come forward without delay in order to prevent misconduct from continuing unabated while investors suffer more harm,” said Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, in a statement. “Whistleblowers are afforded significant incentives and protections under the Dodd-Frank Act and the SEC’s whistleblower program so they can feel secure about doing the right thing and immediately reporting an ongoing fraud rather than letting time pass.”

Sean McKessy, chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, added that the award “recognizes the value of the information and assistance provided by the whistleblower while underscoring the need for whistleblowers to report information to the agency expeditiously.”

Since its inception in 2011, the SEC’s whistleblower program has paid more than $54 million to 22 whistleblowers who provided the SEC with unique and useful information that contributed to a successful enforcement action. 

Whistleblowers are eligible for awards that can range from 10% to 30% of the money collected when the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million.