Money Laundering

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Money Laundering2020-07-09T00:00:57+00:00

The Whistleblower Attorneys at Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto represent the Whistleblower who Exposed the Largest Money Laundering Case in History

The whistleblower lawyers at Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto currently represent the whistleblower who reported the largest money laundering scheme in world history — $230 billion laundered from Russia into Europe and the United States. The scandal, reported by Howard Wilkinson, the former manager of international banking for Danske (Estonia), involves numerous banks and individuals, including Danske Bank, Deutsche Bank, J.P Morgan and the Bank of America.

Wilkinson’s case has been highlighted by 60 minutes and the Wall Street Journal and he is the recipient of the most prestigious award from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. His allegations have triggered ongoing investigations in the United States, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, among other countries, and has already resulted in numerous criminal prosecutions.

Not only does Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto represent high-profile whistleblowers who haver courageously reported money laundering, we have worked to expand the whistleblower laws covering these crimes. Whistleblower attorney Stephen Kohn presented testimony before the European Parliament urging Europe to expand whistleblower protection to cover money laundering. In 2018 the Kohn firm, working with the National Whistleblower Center, was successful in having Congress amend the IRS tax whistleblower law to include all crimes investigated by the IRS criminal division which includes money laundering.

The 2018 IRS whistleblower law covering money laundering affords whistleblowers full confidentiality and entitles them to a mandatory reward of between 15-30% of the fines and sanctions obtained by the United States. Whistleblowers reporting money laundering can reside anywhere in the world, and do not need to be U.S. citizens. Money laundering may also violate the Dodd-Frank Act, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Commodity Exchange Act and the Securities Exchange Act, all which also have mandatory reward provisions and full confidentiality protections.

Fraud Magazine: The smoke detector

An interview with Danske Bank whistleblower Howard Wilkinson

By Dick Carozza, CFE; Photos by Dave Phillips

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is qui tam and how is it different than false claims?2020-07-01T17:04:10+00:00

Qui tam is a Latin phrase that translates to “in the name of the King.” It is a medieval concept in which citizens were granted the powers of the King to help enforce the law.

The concept of qui tam, which allows individuals to qualify for financial rewards on the government’s behalf if their disclosures lead to successful enforcement actions, is incorporated into many modern whistleblower laws, including the False Claims Act.

What is a qui tam action?2020-05-22T15:26:32+00:00

In a qui tam action, a private party known as a relator or a whistleblower brings an action on the government’s behalf against a person or company who is believed to have violated the law. The qui tam whistleblower can receive monetary rewards if their disclosures result in a successful enforcement action. Each qui tam law has its own filing procedures and rules. These include laws covering government procurement and contracting, Medicaid or Medicare frauds, securities and commodities frauds, tax evasion or the underpayment of taxes, money laundering, and foreign bribery, among others.

What is the federal false claims act?2020-05-22T15:27:57+00:00

Originally signed in 1863 by President Lincoln, the federal False Claims Act was modernized in 1986 and is first contemporary whistleblower reward law. Other reward laws are modeled on the False Claims Act.

What are the fees to hire a qui tam lawyer?2020-07-01T16:53:25+00:00

Many whistleblower attorneys work for a “contingency” fee. In a contingency fee case the clients do not pay any attorney’s fees. If the whistleblower loses his or her case, they do not owe the attorney any money. If the whistleblower wins the case, the contingency payment for the attorney is generally between 30-40% of the award.

What if I live outside the US? Can I still obtain a qui tam lawyer?2020-07-01T16:28:52+00:00

Yes. Non-U.S. citizens can hire whistleblower attorneys. CFTC whistleblowers who live outside of the U.S. can hire attorneys to assist in filing their Dodd-Frank Act or Commodity Exchange Act case. In order to file an anonymous claim, you are required to hire a licensed U.S. attorney. Request a free consultation with an experienced attorney today.

How does the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) whistleblower law work?2020-05-22T15:30:35+00:00

The SEC Whistleblower Program pays rewards to people who submit evidence of securities violations pursuant to the procedures required by the SEC. of securities laws. SEC whistleblowers who qualify for awards can receive payments ranging from 10 to 30 percent of the monetary sanctions collected by the Commission.

Who can be a SEC whistleblower?2020-05-22T15:31:01+00:00

Almost any individual who reports securities violations to the Commission can become eligible for monetary rewards from the SEC Whistleblower Program. U.S. citizens and foreign nationals can both be SEC whistleblowers.

What happens after filing an SEC whistleblower complaint?2020-05-22T15:31:48+00:00

After filing a whistleblower claim with the Commission, the SEC will choose whether or not to initiate an investigation against the wrongdoer. If the investigation results in sanctions of $1 million or more the whistleblower who filed the original information initiating the investigation or contributing to the case is eligible to apply for a reward.

Can an individual anonymously file an SEC award case?2020-05-22T15:32:26+00:00

In order to file an anonymous reward claim with the SEC, you must first hire an attorney. The attorney collects the information from the whistleblower and then files the claim on behalf of the whistleblower to the SEC. The SEC knows who the attorney is, but not the identity of the whistleblower. This way, the SEC whistleblower’s identity can remain protected throughout the investigation.

How do I know whether or not my information resulted in the SEC taking an enforcement action against the company or persons I reported?2020-04-23T15:25:58+00:00

Based on the status of a case, the whistleblower or the whistleblower’s attorney will know the status of an investigation. However, every month, the SEC Whistleblower Program publishes a list of Notices of Covered Action. In cases where a company or individual was sanctioned over $1 million, qualified whistleblowers can receive monetary rewards. Check the list monthly to see if you are qualified for a whistleblower reward.

How do I report someone for tax fraud, underpayments or tax evasion to the IRS?2020-05-22T15:42:22+00:00

The Internal Revenue Act has a highly effective tax whistleblower law that permits tax whistleblowers to obtain between 15-30% of any collected proceeds obtained by the government as a result of the original information filed by the whistleblower.

What types of violations are covered under the IRS whistleblower law?2020-05-22T15:48:50+00:00

The law not only covers civil or criminal tax evasion, but also tax underpayments. The law also covers numerous bank-related activities, such as money laundering and the creation of undeclared foreign bank accounts. An experienced tax whistleblower lawyer can help you understand the full scope of this very broad law and properly file a claim.

Can I anonymously report my employer to the IRS?2020-05-22T15:49:26+00:00

No, but the IRS has very strict rules that in practice will protect the identity of the whistleblower. In order to file a tax whistleblower case the whistleblower must sign, under oath, a “Form 211.” Once filed, the IRS internal rules require that the IRS maintain the confidentiality of the whistleblower to the fullest extent permitted under law.

What if I live outside the US? Can I still hire a tax fraud attorney and collect an award?2020-04-23T15:32:26+00:00

Yes. Whistleblowers who live outside the U.S. can (and have) qualified for hundreds of millions of dollars in rewards. If you reside abroad, you should obtain an experienced whistleblower attorney to ensure that you can qualify for a reward.

What is the Commodity Exchange Act whistleblower program?2020-05-22T15:52:36+00:00

Created by the Dodd-Frank Act the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) established a highly effective whistleblower reward program for individual who report commodity frauds, including foreign exchange transactions and frauds in the commodity markets regarding the pricing of oil, food and natural resources.

How does CFTC whistleblower law work?2020-05-22T15:53:10+00:00

The CFTC Whistleblower Program pays rewards to people who submit evidence of violations in the trading of commodities and/or other violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. The scope of the law is very broad and covers non-publicly traded companies that trade in commodities. It can also cover money laundering and foreign bribery. The CTFC whistleblower law was enacted as part of the Dodd-Frank Act and is very similar to the SEC whistleblower law. CFTC whistleblowers who qualify for awards can receive payments ranging from 10 to 30 percent of the monetary sanctions collected by the Commission.

Can CFTC whistleblowers obtain rewards?2020-04-23T15:34:52+00:00

Yes. CFTC whistleblowers who qualify for awards can receive payments ranging from 10 to 30 percent of the monetary sanctions collected by the Commission.

Who can be a CFTC whistleblower?2020-05-22T15:53:47+00:00

Almost any individual who reports securities violations to the CFTC can become eligible for monetary reward. U.S. citizens and foreign nationals can both be CFTC whistleblowers.

What happens after a CFTC whistleblower files information of wrongdoing with the Commission under the whistleblower law?2020-05-22T15:54:36+00:00

After filing a whistleblower claim with the Commission, the CFTC will choose whether or not to initiate an investigation. If the investigation results in sanctions of $1 million or more, the case will move to the second stage, the filing of the APP award application. A denial of a reward can be appealed in court.

Can an individual anonymously file an CFTC award case?2020-05-22T15:55:06+00:00

Yes. In order to file an anonymous reward claim with the CFTC, you must first hire an attorney. The attorney collects the information from the whistleblower and then files the claim on behalf of the whistleblower to the CFTC. The CFTC knows who the attorney is, but not the identity of the whistleblower.

What are the differences between CFTC and SEC whistleblower programs?2020-04-23T15:37:58+00:00

The CFTC and SEC whistleblower programs are nearly identical in how they process whistleblower reward claims. The two agencies often cooperate on investigations.

What is corporate fraud?2020-05-21T20:59:42+00:00

Corporate fraud is generally known as “white collar crime.” It consists of crimes such as tax or securities frauds, money laundering, bribery, government contracting frauds and other violations of law often committed on behalf of corporation.

How does the Dodd-Frank Act protect corporate whistleblowers?2020-05-21T21:00:53+00:00

The Dodd-Frank Act permits whistleblower to obtain monetary rewards for disclosing original information for violations of the Securities Exchange Act, Commodity Exchange Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. These laws also prohibit job-related retaliation.

Are there other federal laws covering corporate fraud?2020-05-21T21:01:20+00:00

Yes. There are highly effective whistleblower reward laws covering tax frauds, money laundering, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, frauds in government procurement and contracting and customs violations.

How do I report corporate fraud?2020-05-21T21:01:40+00:00

You must follow the specific reporting requirements set forth under the regulations of the IRS, SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the specific requirements in federal laws such as the False Claims Act.

Can I report corporate fraud on my own? Why do I need a whistleblower attorney?2020-05-21T21:02:01+00:00

Yes and No. To be an anonymous whistleblower under the Dodd-Frank Act or to file a False Claims Act case you must hire an attorney. You should use your best efforts to retain an experienced whistleblower attorney, as awards under these laws can be very large.

Can I hire whistleblower attorneys Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto if I live outside the US?2020-05-21T21:02:35+00:00

Yes. Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto represents corporate fraud whistleblowers who reside both inside and outside of the United States.

What is a qui tam whistleblower case?2020-05-22T15:26:02+00:00

The term qui tam is a Latin phrase which means “in the name of the King.” Qui tam lawsuits or claims allow individuals to earn financial rewards on the government’s behalf if their disclosures lead to successful enforcement actions. Permitting whistleblowers to use qui tam laws to obtain rewards is now incorporated into many modern whistleblower laws, including the False Claims Act.

How is the amount of an award determined?2020-06-02T20:03:23+00:00

Most of the reward laws have a mandatory minimum and maximum award level. Under the False Claims Act and IRS whistleblower law the minimum award is 15% and the maximum award if 30%. Under the Security Exchange Act, Commodity Exchange Act and FCPA the minimum award is 10% and the maximum award if 30%. To qualify for a reward the whistleblower’s original information must be responsible for a successful enforcement action or prosecution.

What are the fees usually charged by an attorney to file a SEC whistleblower case?2020-05-22T15:34:34+00:00

Many whistleblower attorneys work for a “contingency” fee. The client does not have to pay any advance attorney fees. If the whistleblower loses his or her case, they do not owe the attorney any money. A typical contingency fee for whistleblower attorney is between 30-40% of the amount awarded.

What if I live outside the US? Can I still obtain a whistleblower attorney?2020-06-09T15:33:35+00:00

Yes. Non-U.S. citizens can file cases and be represented by whistleblower attorneys.

What if I live outside the US? Can I still obtain a CFTC whistleblower attorney?2020-05-22T15:56:33+00:00

CFTC whistleblowers who live outside of the U.S. can obtain attorneys to assist in filing their Commodity Exchange Act case. In order to file an anonymous claim you are required to hire a licensed U.S. attorney. To determine whether you have a case you can Request a free consultation with an experienced whistleblower attorney.

What if I live outside the US? Can I still obtain a CFTC lawyer?2020-07-01T16:28:47+00:00

Yes. Non-U.S. citizens can hire whistleblower attorneys. CFTC whistleblowers who live outside of the U.S. can hire attorneys to assist in filing their Dodd-Frank Act or Commodity Exchange Act case. In order to file an anonymous claim, you are required to hire a licensed U.S. attorney. Request a free consultation with an experienced attorney today.

Where can I find a copy of the False Claims Act?2020-07-01T17:13:59+00:00

The False Claims Act, linked here, is codified as 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-33. Section 3729 sets forth anti-fraud requirements of the Act, and Section 3730 includes the provisions related to filing a qui tam lawsuit.

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