Category: Whistleblower

Subscribe to Whistleblower RSS Feed

U.K. Court Orders Disclosure of Internal Investigation Documents to Criminal Prosecutors

In a controversial ruling, London’s High Court has held that interview notes and other documents created by outside legal counsel and forensic accountants as part of an internal investigation into foreign bribery allegations are not protected by the legal professional privilege.  While the appeals process is already underway, the May 8th decision by the Honourable … Continue Reading

Uncertainty Looms Over SEC Enforcement Staff

The air of uncertainty was palpable as current and former members of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Division of Enforcement spoke at the Securities Regulation Institute’s 44th Annual Conference in Coronado, California earlier this week.  Important questions went largely unanswered about the impact of the recent resignations of both SEC Chair Mary Jo … Continue Reading

CFTC Proposes Rules to Align with SEC Whistleblower Program

On August 30, 2016, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) proposed amendments to the regulations governing its whistleblower bounty program.  A number of the changes are aimed at more closely aligning the CFTC’s whistleblower program and the parallel program administered by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), causing speculation that the CFTC plans … Continue Reading

Second Circuit: Dodd-Frank “Anti-Retaliation” Applies Even When Whistleblower-Employees Have Not Reported to the SEC

Creating a circuit split that will likely be headed for resolution by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Second Circuit’s recent decision in Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy LLC expanded the Dodd-Frank Act’s anti-retaliation protections to include employees who were terminated by their companies after internally reporting to their employers concerns about potential violations of the federal securities laws.  The Fifth Circuit … Continue Reading

The SEC Turns Up The Heat On Financial Reporting Fraud

[Editor’s Note:  This past Friday, Perkins Coie Partner Lou Mejia, former SEC Chief Litigation Counsel, joined the chair of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Financial Reporting and Audit Group on a panel to discuss the agency’s latest enforcement efforts surrounding financial reporting fraud]. Margaret McGuire, the chair of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Financial Reporting and Audit Group … Continue Reading

New SEC Guidance: Dodd-Frank Protects Internal Whistleblowers

Shortly after the July 2010 adoption of the Dodd-Frank Act’s whistleblower program, disputes began arising over whether its anti-retaliation protections apply to employees who report misconduct internally to the company, but not externally to the SEC.  On August 4, 2015, the SEC issued new guidance through an interpretive rule, maintaining that the Act’s whistleblower protections are not limited only to … Continue Reading

SEC Action To Protect Whistleblowers May Impact Internal Investigations

On April 1, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced its first enforcement action against a company for using improperly restrictive language in confidentiality agreements allegedly aimed at stifling potential whistleblowers. The SEC charged KBR Inc. with violating whistleblower protection Rule 21F-17 enacted under the Dodd-Frank Act, which prohibits companies from “imped[ing] an individual from … Continue Reading

SEC Awards First Whistleblower Payout to Former Company Officer

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced this week that it has awarded its first whistleblower payout to a former company officer. The redacted order indicates that the former officer will receive an award between $475,000 and $575,000 for reporting high-quality, original information about a securities fraud that resulted in an SEC enforcement action with sanctions exceeding $1 … Continue Reading

Big Paydays for Whistleblowers? Not so fast…

With over 10,000 whistleblower tips since 2011, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently unveiled its most detailed portrait yet of the whistleblowers who have received awards under the SEC incentive program created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. According to its 2014 SEC Annual Report to Congress on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program, 14 whistleblowers … Continue Reading

The SEC’s Potential Disruption of Internal Audit and Compliance Efforts

Somewhat overlooked in the attention to the SEC’s recent $30 million whistleblower award is a more frightening development for public companies.  Just weeks earlier, the SEC announced an award to an employee who performed internal audit and compliance functions.  The SEC said such employees “are on the front lines against fraud and corruption” and offered … Continue Reading

DOJ steps up efforts to investigate and prosecute criminal False Claims Act cases

DOJ has announced that it will increase efforts to investigate and prosecute criminal actions under the False Claims Act.  In a recent address to the False Claims Act plaintiffs’ bar, Leslie R. Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, described the Criminal Division’s recent successes in prosecuting healthcare and government procurement fraud and its renewed efforts … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Vacates Barko Ruling on Scope of Privilege in Internal Investigations

On June 27, 2014, the D.C. Circuit vacated the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia’s hotly-debated opinion in United States ex rel. Barko v. Halliburton Co., making it clear that internal investigation communications are privileged “if one of the significant purposes of the internal investigation was to obtain or provide legal advice.”  The Circuit court noted that … Continue Reading

Whistleblowers: Boom or Bust?

It is no secret that whistleblower complaints are on the rise. According to the SEC Office of the Whistleblower’s (OWB) recently released annual report, during the 2013 fiscal year, OWB received more than 3,200 whistleblower complaints, tips, and referrals—up from 3,001 in 2012 and just 334 in 2011 (the year OWB was created). Similarly, in … Continue Reading

A War on Two Fronts: SEC Steps-Up Efforts to Protect Scope of Its Whistleblower Program

Based on numbers alone, the SEC’s Whistleblower Program grew significantly in 2013.  According to the Annual Report to Congress on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program, released late last year, the number of whistleblower tips and complaints the Commission received increased from 3,001 in the 2012 fiscal year to 3,238 in the 2013 fiscal year.  The Commission … Continue Reading
LexBlog