Representing Corporate Whistleblowers to Combat White Collar Crime
Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto represent corporate whistleblowers under the Dodd-Frank Act (which includes coverage for whistleblowers under the Securities and Exchange Act, Commodity Exchange Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ), False Claims Act, the IRS whistleblower law and Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX).
The Dodd-Frank Act’s corporate whistleblower provisions are “state of the art.” They include:
- Confidential and anonymous reporting
- International coverage;
- Mandatory rewards;
- Strong anti-retaliation provisions
- Prohibit restrictive NDAs
The IRS whistleblower law and the False Claims Act also have strong anti-retaliation and mandatory reward provisions,
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) covers employees, contractors, subcontractors, and agencies of publicly traded companies who report securities violations to their bosses, internal compliance programs, Congress, the SEC, among other agencies.
Sarbanes Oxley whistleblowers must file their complaint with the Department of Labor in writing within 180 days of the time the whistleblower learns that he or she will be, or has been, subjected to discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Unlike the Dodd-Frank Act, the SOX does not offer financial rewards and whistleblowers cannot be confidential.
Employees reporting corporate fraud who prevail under SOX are entitled to:
*If an employee is seeking “special damages,” that relief should be requested in their initial complaint.
Many other federal and state laws have been enacted to protect corporate whistleblowers. The New Whistleblower’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right and Protecting Yourself contains twenty-one clear and comprehensive rules that fully explain the “how” to effectively blow the whistle on corporate fraud and potentially qualify for financial rewards. This book is also available directly from the publisher, or at a public library. It is very important that you review this resource in order to determine what laws may protect you and whether you need to take immediate action to protect your rights.
Visit our SOX Corporate Whistleblower Resource page.
Contact one of our whistleblower attorneys to assist you to report corporate fraud.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes. CFTC whistleblowers who qualify for awards can receive payments ranging from 10 to 30 percent of the monetary sanctions collected by the Commission.
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.
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.
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.
The CFTC and SEC whistleblower programs are nearly identical in how they process whistleblower reward claims. The two agencies often cooperate on investigations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes. Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto represents corporate fraud whistleblowers who reside both inside and outside of the United States.
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.
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.
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.
Yes. Non-U.S. citizens can file cases and be represented by whistleblower attorneys.
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.
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