Jordan A. Thomas addresses what motivates whistleblowers to come forward
Jordan Thomas, a partner at Labaton Sucharow who represented two of this year’s award recipients, attributes the increase in tips to more awareness of the program. He also notes that “awareness has grown exponentially as the awards have gotten bigger.” And indeed the biggest ever reward of $30 million was doled out in September 2014 to a foreign tipster.
Thomas cited that people who submit tips are driven by a variety of motives; some truly want to protect investors while others are motivated by money.
However, while the financial awards can be huge, many were not exclusively motivated by money. The Security and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower’s yearly report for 2015 cites that 80 percent of those who received award money (and were current or former employees) had first reported wrongdoing internally to their company. “If your motive is money, you wouldn’t report internally,” says Thomas.