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Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto represent whistleblowers under the Dodd-Frank Act, which includes coverage under the Securities and Exchange Act, Commodity Exchange Act, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. We also represent and provide protection to government qui tam and tax fraud whistleblowers under the U.S. False Claims Act and provisions of the IRS Whistleblower Award program.

Internal whistleblowers are the best source of fraud detection. Period. And when they come forward to blow the whistle on corporate fraud, it’s crucial they remain anonymous; and also be rewarded award for their heroic act. Unfortunately, many brave whistleblowers who report fraud internally to compliance officials or company attorneys suffer harsh retaliation, which often results in termination, demotion, or worse.

If you have evidence of corporate fraud, you must keep quiet to avoid retaliation. Do not report fraud internally or speak about the fraud with anybody. To maintain anonymity, remain protected, and get the awards you deserve, you should contact an attorney who specializes in whistleblowing (not criminal defense) to help guide you through the process of collecting evidence, reporting fraud, and filing for an award.

Why You Should Choose Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto to Represent You

Our corporate fraud attorneys have been involved in hardening federal whistleblower law through dedicated public interest advocacy. Our firm met with the SEC and IRS on several occasions, speaking with key organizational officials and filing numerous SEC rulemaking and IRS rulemaking petitions and briefs. Our submissions have helped improved the Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Reward and IRS Whistleblower program – leading to greater incentives for whistleblowers to speak up and file for rewards.

If you know of corporate fraud and have strong evidence, please contact one of our corporate fraud attorneys for a confidential case review. We can help you anonymously report fraud and file for award(s).

Request Confidential Case Review

Our Firm’s Corporate Fraud and Qui Tam Cases

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act - Novartis Greece Bribery

Novartis Greece Bribery

Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto and Athens-based Greek law firm of Pavlos K. Sarakis & Associates jointly represented Greek whistleblowers who proved that the multinational Swiss-based pharmaceutical company Novartis paid millions in bribes to illegally market drugs in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  Novartis was required to pay over $300 million in sanctions and fines to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). 

Howard Wilkinson - Money Laundering Whistleblower

Howard Wilkinson

On September 19, 2018, news broke of $234 billion money laundering scheme. The scheme moved rubbles out of Russia, converted them to dollars at the Estonian branch of Danske Bank, and then moved the dollars to New York with the assistance of three correspondent banks (Bank of America, J.P Morgan, and Deutsche Bank). Danske Bank admitted all of its internal controls designed to prevent money laundering had failed. The bank also revealed that the scheme had been reported to the highest levels of the bank by a whistleblower over four years before. The whistleblower’s identity was required to be secret. But it took only days for his name to leak out. Soon the entire international banking world learned that the former Danske Bank manager Howard Wilkinson had exposed the largest money laundering scheme in history, and that the bank had tried to cover it up.

Bradley Birkenfeld - IRS Fraud Whistleblower

Bradley Birkenfeld

Bradley Birkenfeld broke the back of Swiss bank secrecy. He was the first Swiss banker to file a case under the IRS whistleblower law. The results were unprecedented. UBS bank (at the time the largest bank in the world) had to pay a fine of $780 million. They also had to close all known U.S. accounts, and for the first time in history, the bank turned over the names of 4450 U.S. taxpayers for prosecution in the United States. Mr. Birkenfeld obtained one of the largest ever individual qui tam IRS whistleblower awards in history of $104 million. But this was just the beginning. In a major law review article, the Chairman of the IRS Advisory Council explained how Birkenfeld’s whistleblowing ended illegal Swiss banking for most Americans, led to the closure of tens of thousands of offshore accounts, and the collection of tens of billions of dollars from tax law violators.

Whistleblower Laws for Fighting Corporate Fraud

Federal qui tam laws and other major whistleblower reward programs cover a vast amount of corporate fraud activities. They also provide strong protections, contain strong anti-retaliation clauses, and mandatory reward provisions. These laws and programs are designed to incentivize whistleblowers to blow the whistle on white-collar crime and corporate fraud.

False Claims Act for Qui Tam Whistleblowers

Initially enacted by President Lincoln to curb rampant profiteering during the Civil War, the False Claims Act is the most effective whistleblower law ever passed to protect and reward whistleblowers who expose government contracting fraud.

Types of Fraud Against the Government and Corporate Frauds The False Claims Act Covers:

  • Government Contracting Fraud – when government contractors overbill the federal government or state municipalities more than was provided, kickbacks, providing defective goods, violations of lease agreements, nonpayment, etc.
  • National Defense Contractor Fraud – defense contract fraud, where funds are shifted from one contract to another to profit, or the intentional inflation of costs
  • Healthcare, Medicare or Medicaid Fraud – illegal marketing of drugs, upcoding or unbundling, COVID-19 fraud or other frauds where federal monies are involved
  • Education & Financial Aid Fraud – for-profit colleges and universities violate the rules of the student loan programs improperly recruiting students to generate income
  • Mortgage & Bank Fraud – bankers submitting fraudulent claims for government insurance based on wrongful foreclosures;
  • Underpayments to Government – a reverse false claims action can occur when defendants knowingly make a false statement in order to avoid having to pay the government when payment is otherwise due

The False Claims Act qui tam provision empowers whistleblowers who have firsthand knowledge of frauds or violations to report them to the appropriate government officials and creates incentives, encouraging whistleblowers to work directly with government investigators, often in the capacity of a confidential informant.

Qui Tam and False Claims Act Whistleblower Rewards

Over the past 10 years, the Department of Justice has paid over $5 billion in whistleblower rewards. A False Claims Act whistleblower can receive between 15 and 30 percent of the total recovery the U.S. gets from the defendant. The FCA qui tam law sets mandatory minimum payments to whistleblowers to help convince “insiders” to take the risk of losing their jobs or suffering other harms. This mandatory minimum is enforceable in court. The guaranteed minimum payments, which are often in the millions of dollars, are essential for convincing potential whistleblowers to step forward.

IRS Whistleblower Program

Since 1867, the Secretary of the Treasury has been allowed to pay such amounts as he deems necessary “for detecting and bringing to trial and punishment persons guilty of violating the internal revenue laws or conniving at the same” under the Internal Revenue Act.

Types of Corporate Tax Fraud the IRS Whistleblower Program Covers:

  • Offshore Tax Havens – a company knowingly moves money to a bank in another country to avoid reporting taxable income
  • Shell Accounts – setting up multiple bank accounts and circulating money across these accounts to propagate tax benefits
  • Money Laundering – the activity of masking or concealing the source of illegally-obtained money by transferring to foreign banks or legitimate businesses
  • False Reporting – reporting incorrect information on tax returns, such as underreporting revenues or taxable income
  • Falsely Operating Under Tax-Exempt Status – claiming a tax-exempt status to receive tax credits or deductions
  • Pyramiding – withholding employee taxes and intentionally not remitting taxes to the IRS, then filing bankruptcy and starting another company
  • False Payroll Tax Returns – preparing false payroll tax returns understating the number of wages on taxes owed
  • Failure to Pay Payroll Taxes – failing to file employment tax returns are methods commonly used to evade employment taxes

The IRS is looking for solid information, not an “educated guess” or unsupported speculation. They are also looking for a significant Federal tax issue – this is not a program for resolving personal problems or disputes about a business relationship.

IRS Whistleblower Rewards

Over the past 9 years, the IRS has paid over $843 million in whistleblower rewards. The IRS Whistleblower Office pays money to people who blow the whistle on persons who fail to pay the tax that they owe. If the IRS uses information provided by the whistleblower, it can award the whistleblower up to 30 percent of the additional tax, penalty and other amounts it collects.

If you know of massive tax fraud and have strong evidence, please contact one of our IRS whistleblower rewards lawyers for a confidential case review. We can help you anonymously report fraud and file for award(s).

Request Confidential Case Review

SEC Whistleblower Program

The SEC Whistleblower Program was created to provide monetary incentives for people to come forward with violations of federal securities laws. Furthermore, the program prohibits employer retaliation as a direct result of a whistleblower coming forward to the SEC with sensitive information.

Types of Corporate Fraud the SEC Whistleblower Reward Program Covers:

  • Ponzi schemes, Pyramid schemes & High-yield investment programs – these schemes are fraudulent investing scam which generates returns for earlier investors with money taken from later investors.
  • Theft or misappropriation of funds or securities – stock or investment fraud is a sneaky practice in the stock or commodities markets that lure investors to make purchase or sale decisions on the basis of falsified information, frequently resulting in major losses.
  • Market Manipulation of a security’s price or volume – market manipulation refers to artificially inflating or deflating the price of a security or otherwise influencing the behavior of the market for personal gain.
  • Insider trading – the trading of stock of a public company, or other securities based on material, nonpublic information about the company. In many countries, trading based on insider-only information is illegal.
  • Fraudulent or unregistered securities offering – shares that are considered “Unregistered” have far less investor protections. In consequence, companies sell these shares to qualified investors only. To be considered a qualified investor, one must be a high-net-worth individual or a high-income investor.
  • Abusive naked short selling – selling an asset without first burrowing the security or checking whether the security can be burrowed.

Almost any individual who reports securities violations to the Commission can become eligible for monetary awards from the SEC Whistleblower Program. Both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals, within or outside of an organization, can be an SEC whistleblower. However, companies cannot qualify as whistleblowers.

SEC Whistleblower Rewards

Over the past 8 years, the SEC has paid whistleblowers more than $750 million in rewards. Those who report securities fraud are entitled to an award of 10% and 30% of the monetary sanctions collected in legal actions brought by the SEC and other authoritative parties. The rules require that the SEC consider many factors when determining the amount, which vary from case to case.

If you know of any of the above listed securities frauds and have reasonable evidence, please contact a SEC whistleblower attorney at Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto for a confidential case review. We can help you anonymously report fraud and file for award(s).

Request Confidential Case Review

CFTC Whistleblower Program

The CFTC whistleblower reward program, established in 2010 under the Dodd-Frank Act, pays whistleblower awards to eligible individuals who voluntarily provide the CFTC with original information on violations of the Commodity Exchange Act that leads to a successful enforcement action resulting in monetary sanctions exceeding $1,000,000.

  • Manipulation or fixing of benchmark rates such as LIBOR, ISDAFIX and global foreign exchange rates
  • Illegal, off-exchange precious metals transactions
  • Disruptive trading of futures or swaps, including spoofing—bidding or offering with the intent to cancel the bid or offer before execution
  • False statements to the CFTC or the National Futures Association
  • Forex trading scams
  • Violating prior CFTC orders

CFTC Whistleblower Rewards

Whistleblower rewards under the CTFC program are mandatory for qualified whistleblowers and are in the range of 10% and 30% of the collected proceeds. Employers cannot retaliate against whistleblowers or prevent potential whistleblowers from communicating with the CFTC.

Please contact the CFTC whistleblower law firm Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto for a confidential case review. We can help you anonymously report fraud and file for award(s).

Request Confidential Case Review

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), enacted by congress in 1977, is a U.S. anti-corruption law that prohibits the payment of anything of value to foreign government officials in order to obtain a business advantage.

The Act is intended to stop corrupt practices, create a level playing field for honest businesses, and restore public confidence in the integrity of the marketplace. The FCPA requires publicly traded corporations to make and keep books and records that accurately reflect the transactions of the corporation in order to ensure that no bribes were paid.

  • Using bribes to gain business – paying a foreign official in order to win business in the foreign official’s country – creating an unfair advantage
  • Using bribes to approve a project – gifting money or other items of value to a foreign official in exchange for government approval on a business venture
  • Using bribes to induce a doctor’s endorsement – using financial incentives to get a doctor to endorse or use a certain product
  • Using bribes to gain business from political figures – bribing foreign government officials or foreign political parties as a means of gaining business through political influence
  • Failing to keep proper books and records – keeping incomplete or inaccurate records

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Whistleblower Rewards

In 2010, as part of the Dodd-Frank Act, whistleblowers can obtain monetary rewards for disclosing violations of anti corruption laws contained in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The various reward programs to-date are listed below. However, note that being rewarded for courageous whistleblowing in foreign corruption cases is often complex. The reward amount is based on the sanction amount which in turn is assessed based on a variety of factors, which are often case-specific.