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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler testifies before a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee oversight hearing on the SEC on Capitol Hill in Washington, September 14, 2021.

Evelyn Hockstein | Pool | Reuters

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday said the total amount of payouts it had made to whistleblowers had topped $1 billion after the financial watchdog issued its second-largest ever award to a person for flagging wrongdoing.

The SEC said one person this week was paid a combined $110 million Information and assistance leading to the successful enforcement actions of the SEC, other entities.

Around $40 million was paid in connection with an SEC case. The remainder came from related actions of another agency.

That total was close to the record $114 million award issued last October by the regulator, which began paying bounties to whistleblowers in 2012.

According to the SEC, another whistleblower was awarded $4 million. That brings this year’s total payouts up over $500,000,000.

The $50 million award for the third largest whistleblower was given earlier this year.

According to law, the SEC does not reveal whistleblowers’ identities or any information that might lead to their identification.

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Since the program began, the SEC has paid 207 whistleblowers more than $1.07 billion, according to the agency, whose mission is to protect investors and maintain fair and efficient markets.

The payouts range from 10% to 30% for monetary sanctions the SEC has imposed that are more than $1 million. These payments were paid out by sanctions and not investors who were hurt.

According to the SEC, the financial reliefs amounting to more than $4.8 million have been obtained from whistleblowers over the years.

In a tweet video, Gary Gensler, Chairman of the SEC announced that they had reached a landmark.

Gensler noted that “every single whistleblower provided an important service.” Every week I’m reminded how the whistleblower programme helps us to be more effective cops, protect investors and execute our mission.

Gensler on that video encouraged would-be whistleblowers to visit the SEC’s tip website: www.sec.gov/whistleblower.

Earlier Wednesday, during an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” Gensler said the SEC is dealing with a range of challenging enforcement issues even as it has up to 5% fewer staff members than five years ago.

Gensler stated, “We have an IPO boom and a SPAC boom. We have cryptocurrencies to handle.” “I’d like to at least get back [staff level] to where we were in 2016 and I think we should probably be 5% or 10% larger than that.”

Gensler told the Senate on Tuesday that he needs “a lot more people” to help deal with thousands of new digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies.

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