Blowing The Whistle On Securities Fraud
Following the financial collapse of 2008 and the disclosure of Bernie Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, or in its shortened name, the Dodd-Frank Act. This act established a new whistleblower program out of the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), that offers awards to people who come forward with information about violations of the securities and commodities laws. Under this Act, if the SEC recovers over one million dollars as a result of your information, you could be eligible for an award upward of 10% and 30% of the total amount collected. The Dodd-Frank Act created a special fund of over $400 million to be used by the SEC specifically to pay securities whistleblower awards.
The law also has provisions that are intended to protect whistleblowers against retaliation from employers by prohibiting them from taking any adverse employment action, or otherwise discriminating against an employee, for providing information to the SEC. Any employee that is subjected to discrimination or retaliation has the right to file a lawsuit against his or her employer. The Act also covers the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which is a statute that makes it against the law for a U.S. company to offer, give, promise to give, or to authorize the giving of anything of value to any foreign official in order to obtain or retain business.
The Dodd-Frank Act also established a program to encourage whistleblowers to report fraud in connection with the sale of commodities. Under this program, a securities whistleblower may disclose information relating to commodities fraud to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). As is the case with the SEC’s program, if the information leads to a successful recovery of funds, then the CFTC will award the whistleblower between 10% and 30% of the total amount recovered.
The financial collapse was caused, at least in part, by violations of the securities laws, and now whistleblowers have a way to help prevent that from happening again. Our law firm, with our office here in Washington, DC, near the headquarters of the SEC, is well-positioned to assist those securities law whistleblowers.