sec-building-headquartersThe rewards for SEC whistleblower can be potentially limited for a successful qui tam lawsuit. The SEC is proposing controversial amendments to its whistleblower program. Under current directives, a whistleblower who provides information that leads to an SEC enforcement action receives 10%-30% of the recovery by the agency. This monetary provision incentivizes potential whistleblowers to disclose rather than remain silent.

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people-walking-inside-buildingToday, we expect Wall Street to be as much a part of the community as Main Street. For corporations with social responsibility commitments and investor groups with social responsibility mandates, whistleblowers are a crucial force for compliance. Whistleblowers ensure that businesses play by the rules, including those that they’ve set for themselves, as part of their social responsibility commitments. As the number of whistleblower claims rise, both in quality and scope, the potential impact of these cases on socially responsible investing, and on companies committed to and impacted by such frameworks, needs to be placed in the spotlight.

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Washington D.C. October 9, 2016.  Och-Ziff Capital Management Group (Och-Ziff), A New York-based alternative investment and hedge fund manager, agreed to pay a combined total amount of U.S. criminal and regulatory penalties of approximately $412 million to settle charges it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  In separate announcements yesterday the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) each described the actions of Och-Ziff which led to the charges the company violated the FCPA.
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Washington, D.C. October 5, 2016. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced today that Anheuser-Busch InBev has agreed to pay $6 million to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and chilled a whistleblower who reported the misconduct.
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On September 14, 2016, SEC Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney spoke at the Sixteenth Annual Taxpayers Against Fraud Conference about the SEC’s whistleblower program. His remarks covered issues from the impact of the whistleblower program on the Agency to the role of whistleblower attorneys as they help their clients navigate the investigative and claims process.
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There are more effective ways to protest lax enforcement of financial fraud

Last week, it was widely reported that Eric Ben-Artzi, a Deutsche Bank whistleblower stated he will refuse a portion of his whistleblower award from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s whistleblower program.   Mr. Ben-Artzi had worked at the bank as a vice president and he tells an all too-familiar story of a loyal corporate insider reporting serious fraud internally only to be betrayed by corporate compliance officials and then getting fired by management.

Mr. Ben-Artzi next reported the wrongdoing to the SEC and later formally asked the SEC in 2015 to grant him a monetary award for helping the SEC to fine Deutsche Bank. After being awarded more than $8 million he says he will refuse to accept a portion of that whistleblower award (but allow his ex-wife and attorney to collect a portion of his share) as a form of protest to the SEC’s collusion with Wall Street.

However, refusing the award makes little sense, because there are more effective ways the whistleblower can protest lax enforcement and corporate fraud.
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The SEC Office of the Whistleblower posts Notices of Covered Action where a final judgment or order, by itself or together with other prior judgments or orders in the same action issued after July 21, 2010, results in monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million. Subject to the Final Rules, individuals who voluntarily provided the Commission with original information after July 21, 2010 that led to the successful enforcement of a covered action listed below are eligible to apply for a whistleblower award. Once a Notice of Covered Action is posted by the SEC, individuals have 90 calendar days to apply for an award.

View the updated list below:  
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Washington, D.C. January 15, 2016. The Securities and Exchange Commission issued a landmark award to an industry expert who provided it with “high-quality analysis” in an enforcement action.  The whistleblower award of more than $700,000 marks the first time the SEC has issued an award to someone outside a company since the whistleblower office opened in 2011.

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