A whistleblower just took home $50 million -- the biggest award the SEC has ever paid

New York (CNN Business)The US Securities and Exchange Commission has paid out its largest-ever whistleblower award — nearly $50 million.

The whistleblower tipped off the agency to a currency manipulation scheme at a massive bank, resulting in a "successful enforcement action," the SEC said Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal, which conducted an investigation about the scheme, reported the whistleblower is a trader from Bank of New York Mellon (BKPRC) who alerted the SEC about the bank's reported pattern of "overcharging big clients on currency trades."

The trader assisted with the SEC's investigation for more than a decade. The bank was accused of giving pension funds less-than-desirable exchange rates, helping the bank make massive profits from the difference, the newspaper reported.

A source told the Journal the whistleblower's name is Grant Wilson. The SEC noted in its release that confidentiality agreements restrict it from naming whistleblower's name or identity.

BNY Mellon didn't immediately return CNN Business' request for comment. The bank, which ended up paying more than $700 million in fines for the case in 2015, didn't deny the accusations in its prior comment on the case.

"We are pleased to put these legacy FX matters behind us, which is in the best interest of our company and our constituents," BNY Mellon said at the time, according to multiple reports.

The SEC said Thursday's payout brings its total award to more than $500 million to 83 individuals in roughly the decade since the program was created.

"Whistleblowers have proven to be a critical tool in the enforcement arsenal to combat fraud and protect investors." Jane Norberg, chief of the SEC's Office of the Whistleblower, said in a statement.

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