HomeLeading Whistleblower Attorney Discusses Recent Developments in the Field

Leading Whistleblower Attorney Discusses Recent Developments in the Field

Published On: March 24th, 2023Categories: Whistleblower News and Qui Tam Blog

On March 23, leading whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto was a guest on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin. Kohn spoke about recent developments in whistleblowing including the December passage of the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Whistleblower Improvement Act and the troubling False Claims Act statistics released by the Department of Justice for the 2022 Fiscal Year.

Kohn begins by discussing the landmark AML Whistleblower Improvement Act, which he worked for two years to get passed. The law establishes an effective whistleblower program covering individuals disclosing both money laundering and sanctions-busting violations. Kohn sees it as a game-changer in the U.S.’s fight against Russian corruption.

“We pushed and we advocated for a whistleblower law to cover money laundering,” Kohn said. “While you would need anonymity and confidentiality, which the law has. But the key was monetary rewards, because if you’re in Russia or you’re in Denmark or you’re in France, our retaliation laws don’t apply. If you’re in a country without a good rule of law, like Russia or many countries around the world, you could be shot for being a whistleblower, especially for money laundering.”

“Money laundering is really the heart of the worst forms of corruption,” Kohn continued. “So this is really strikes at the heart of corruption. And that’s why permitting people who are non U.S. citizens to use this law and obtain rewards. It was really the heart of the reform that we obtained in December 2022.”

The conversation then shifted to a discussion of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) False Claims Act (FCA) statistics for the 2022 Fiscal Year, which Kohn previously described as a “disgrace.” In FY 2022, the DOJ recovered only $776 million in False Claims Act whistleblower cases in which it intervened, the lowest total since 2004. In contrast, FCA whistleblower cases where the DOJ did not intervene resulted in a record $1.1 billion in recoveries.”

So the U.S. Department of Justice, in my view, is schizophrenic,” Kohn stated. “We deal with DOJ, prosecutors and investigators who are fantastic. The honor confidentiality, they’re dedicated. They do a brilliant job. Well, there are others in the department that are clearly hostile to whistleblowers. And really, I mean, it’s just bad news, we’ll put it that way.”

Kohn is hopeful, however, that the AML Whistleblower Improvement Act could change for the better the way the DOJ handles whistleblower complaints.

“This law requires Justice to accept anonymous complaints. Therefore, justice must implement rules to accept anonymous complaints, which means training of the officials of the Justice Department who will be interacting with these anonymous and confidential whistleblowers,” he explains. “Within the SEC, we saw that this level of legal requirement had a fantastic positive impact. It really forced that agency to have an effective whistleblower program. The same needs to happen with the Justice Department.”

Temin closed the interview by asking Kohn about his upcoming book Rules for Whistleblowers.

Rules for Whistleblowers, which goes over everything a whistleblower needs to know from confidentiality,” Kohn said. “I have a whole section on the AML law. In fact, all of the whistleblower laws are discussed. It’s coming out in June. And I really, I think if you’re going to blow the whistle, you really need to know how to do it right and what your rights are.”

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Latest News & Insights

  • May 30, 2023

    Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto partners Michael Kohn, Stephen M. Kohn, David Colapinto, and Mary Jane Wilmoth, as well as Of Counsel Allison Herren Lee,  are all recognized as among the 2023 Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers. Lawdragon introduced the 2023 list on May 26. “This remarkable group of lawyers ...

  • May 30, 2023

    This piece orignally appeared in the National Law Review. Released in December 2021, the “United States Strategy on Countering Corruption,” affirms the critical role whistleblowers need to play in fighting international corruption.  Unfortunately, most federal agencies – all of which are bound by the Strategy – have not gotten the ...

  • May 24, 2023

    This article originally appeared in JD Supra. When President Biden signed the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Whistleblower Improvement Act on December 29th, 2022, the Treasury Department had its work cut out for them. In the shadow of the highly successful Securities and Exchange (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commissions (CFTC), the new program is expected to process ...

  • May 22, 2023

    Legal protections for FBI whistleblowers are “radically deficient” and leave FBI agents extremely vulnerable to retaliation without due process, according to leading whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto. Kohn, who has represented numerous FBI whistleblowers, appeared on Fox News to discuss FBI whistleblower protections following recent House testimony by FBI whistleblowers. ...

Subscribe for News & Resources

Receive exclusive updates and news from our firm.