A Wall Street Journal article (subscription required) dated May 4, 2015 reports that a backlog of tips received by the SEC Office of the Whistleblower as part of its bounty program has resulted in a delay in paying awards to tipsters. According to the article, of the 297 tipsters who have applied for awards since 2011, 83% have not received a decision as to whether they will receive a monetary award.
After noting Senator Grassley’s concerns regarding the apparent backlog, the article quotes Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney as stating: “These claims involve complex issues, many of which are being considered for the first time in the whistleblower program” … and “We remain committed to ensuring the correct result for each claim and processing them as quickly as possible.” The article also quotes SEC Chairman Mary Jo White as stating that in the last fiscal year the SEC “issued more awards to more people for more money than in any previous year—and that trend is expected to accelerate.”
Some may indeed have concerns that the above-referenced delay may ultimately deter potential tipsters. But it is important to keep in mind that the program is relatively new and a number of payouts have been significant, including one for approximately $30 million and one for approximately $14 million.