The Securities and Exchange Commission has awarded nearly $50 million to a whistleblower, the largest reward ever made under the whistleblower program, the agency announced Thursday.

The reward was paid to a person who provided detailed, firsthand observations of misconduct by a public company, which resulted in a successful enforcement action that returned a significant amount of money to harmed investors, the SEC said.

“This award marks several milestones for the whistleblower program,” said Jane Norberg, chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, in a statement. “This award brings the total awarded to whistleblowers by the SEC since 2012 to more than $500 million paid to 83 individuals, including more than $100 million in this fiscal year alone. Whistleblowers have proven to be a critical tool in the enforcement arsenal to combat fraud and protect investors.”

Whistleblower awards are made from an investor protection fund established by Congress that is financed through monetary sanctions paid to the SEC by securities law violators. Whistleblowers are eligible for an award when they voluntarily provide the SEC with original, timely and credible information that leads to a successful enforcement action, the SEC said. Awards range from 10% to 30% of the money collected when the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million. The SEC does not disclose information that could reveal a whistleblower’s identity.

The second largest award was $39 million paid to an individual in 2018. Two individuals also shared a nearly $50 million whistleblower award that same year, the SEC said.