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Anonymous DOJ & IRS Case

Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto obtained the largest award ever paid to a whistleblower in a multi-jurisdictional anti-corruption case: an $135 million award. The award was based on sanctions collected by both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Justice (DOJ).

In order to protect our client’s confidentiality we have not disclosed any details relating to this case. But the award highlights our firm’s expertise in ensuring that whistleblowers receive the largest award they are eligible for.

In many instances, whistleblowers are eligible for awards from multiple government agencies. However, this fact is not always made clear to whistleblowers and the procedures to receive multiple awards are often complex. An experienced whistleblower attorney can help a whistleblower navigate these complexities.

Through the IRS Whistleblower Program, tax whistleblowers are entitled not only to rewards based upon funds collected by the IRS, but also rewards based on criminal fines and penalties obtained by the DOJ. This precedent was set in a case won by Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto. Congress then cited this landmark precedent when amending the IRS tax law to ensure criminal penalties were explicitly included in the IRS whistleblower law.

The Dodd-Frank Act, the law which established whistleblower programs for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), includes related action provisions entitling SEC and CFTC whistleblowers to rewards based upon sanctions collected by other government agencies. For example, if a whistleblower makes a disclosure to the SEC and this information leads to both sanctions by the SEC and criminal penalties issued by the DOJ, the whistleblower is entitled to an SEC award of 10-30% of the funds collected by the SEC and a related action award of 10-30% of the funds collected by the DOJ.

While whistleblowers are entitled to related action awards under the Dodd-Frank Act, it is up to the whistleblower to specially apply for awards for each enforcement action. Furthermore, the SEC and CFTC are not required to inform whistleblowers when there are related actions they qualify for awards for. Therefore, an experienced whistleblower attorney is an invaluable asset to a whistleblower as they navigate the related action award process.