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JPMorgan whistleblowers get $50M from SEC in high-net-worth case

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The SEC agreed to pay a total of $50 million to a pair of whistleblowers who provided information that helped the agency win a $267 million settlement with JPMorgan Chase over claims that the bank failed to inform wealthy clients of conflicts of interest in managing their money.

One of the informants will get $37 million, the third-biggest payout in the history of the SEC’s whistleblower program, the agency said in a statement Tuesday. The SEC didn’t name the company involved or the people getting the awards, citing federal law that protects confidentiality.

Labaton Sucharow, a law firm that represents one of the whistleblowers, disclosed the link to the JPMorgan case after the SEC’s announcement.

“Blowing the whistle is rarely easy, and it certainly hasn’t been for my client, but this historic SEC whistleblower award and related enforcement action reaffirms that doing the right thing pays,” Jordan Thomas, the whistleblower lawyer, said in a statement. Thomas said his client is a JPMorgan executive.

In December 2015, JPMorgan agreed to pay more than $300 million to the SEC and to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. JPMorgan admitted disclosure failures from 2008 to 2013 related to two units that manage money — its securities subsidiary and its nationally chartered bank — as part of the SEC settlement.

“Whistleblowers like those being awarded today may be the source of ‘smoking gun’ evidence and indispensable assistance that strengthens the agency’s ability to protect investors and the capital markets,” Jane Norberg, chief of the SEC’s whistleblower office, said in the agency’s statement.

Tipsters are eligible for payouts if they voluntarily provide the SEC with unique information that leads to a successful enforcement action. Compensation can range from 10% to 30% percent of the money collected in a case where sanctions exceed $1 million. The SEC has paid out about $376 million since issuing its first award in 2012. The award announced Tuesday was the agency’s first since September.

The agency had made a preliminary decision that the two would share a $61 million award, Bloomberg reported in July 2017.

Bloomberg News