The SEC new program is inviting any person to report any fraudulent behavior! What do you get in exchange? A nice financial reward proportionate to the amount of their fine! A beginning of a punishment in higher spheres?
This is an old idea. At one time in England if you brought evidence of crimes to the court and prosecuted successfully you were given a share of the fine. This was because there was no effective police force. Does this say anything about the SEC?
I seem to recall, when I studied law years ago, that this resulted in "witch-hunts". People effectively became professional witnesses and this, in turn, gave rise to many of the rules of evidence in modern law e.g. the exclusion of hearsay evidence. In South Africa (my homeland) there are a number of legislative provisions regarding whistle-blowers, but the net effect in reality is still that they are persecuted. This makes one wonder whether whistle-blowing should not rather be exclusively a matter of conscience, rather than one where financial considerations play any role. Surely the evidenciary weight accorded to evidence for which one is ultimately remunerated is compromised?
This program has been around for a year or more - the first payout of $50k just happened - the SEC are being very careful not to name the companies involved so that the whistle blowers identity remains safe. It is not a trick but a legitimate program by the SEC.