The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that three whistleblowers have been awarded a combined total of $25,000 for tips they provided to help the SEC and Justice Department thwart a sham hedge fund.
The SEC issued an order earlier this summer rewarding each of the three whistleblowers with 5% of the money that the SEC ultimately collects from its enforcement action against Locust Offshore Management and its CEO Andrey C. Hicks.
This is the first payment installment and more are anticipated as additional assets are collected from the purported hedge fund manager. The aggregate value of assets seized from Hicks is estimated to be approximately $845,000, and the whistleblowers are expected to ultimately receive 15% of this amount for a combined total of approximately $125,000.
Hicks pled guilty on Dec. 12, 2012, to five counts of wire fraud and consented to the forfeiture of his interest in property previously seized by the Justice Department. He was sentenced to 40 months in prison.
The identify of the trio is protected under the SEC’s whistleblower program. The order states that two of the whistleblowers provided information that led to the SEC investigation thereby ending the scheme before more investors were harmed. The third whistleblower identified key witnesses and confirmed that the information provided by the other two was valid.
The SEC’s whistleblower program is authorized under the law to reward individuals who offer high-quality, original information that leads to an SEC enforcement action in which more than $1 million in sanctions is ordered.