SEC Whistleblower Program Success
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Photo credit Diego Radzinschi

Washington, D.C. – September 21, 2018.  The public comment period for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) proposed amendments to the rules governing its successful whistleblower program closed on Tuesday, September 18.  More than 99% of the comments posted on the SEC’s public comment page oppose the proposed rules.  Continue Reading SEC Receives Extensive Criticism in Comments on Proposed Changes to Whistleblower Program

International Tips
International tips are crucial to the SEC’s law enforcement capabilities. From 2011 to 2017, the SEC received a total of 2,655 whistleblowers from 113 countries. This map shows the countries as well as the frequency of those tips.

Washington, D.C. August 30, 2018. Today, the National Whistleblower Center (“NWC”) released a report analyzing data from Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (“FCPA”) cases since the law was passed in 1977, including several cases decided in 2018.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is one of the most important whistleblower laws, especially for foreign nationals and for combatting corruption and bribery occurring on foreign soil. The FCPA prohibits companies issuing stock in the U.S. – and their subsidiaries – from bribing foreign officials to win contracts and other business. Continue Reading The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is an Effective Tool to Stop Illegal Activity and Catch Illicit Profits

Dr. Aaron Westrick, Second Chance Body Armor whistleblower gives speech on National Whistleblower Day.Tonight, CBS News will air a special one hour broadcast on Dr. Aaron Westrick, the whistleblower who exposed unsafe bullet proof vests sold to hundreds of local police departments, the U.S. military and Secret Service.  The show, Whistleblower, will highlight Dr. Westrick’s 14-year qui tam lawsuit against the manufacturers of faulty bulletproof vests made with the fabric Zylon. Westrick was represented by qui tam attorney Stephen M. Kohn founding partner in Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, a law firm which primarily litigates qui tam actions. Kohn also serves as the pro bono Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center. Continue Reading CBS News Special Will Feature Bullet Proof Vest Whistleblower

Ridenhour Prizes
The 15th Annual Ridenhour Prizes were held this year at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

In 1968, Vietnam War veteran Ron Ridenhour heard disturbing stories from fellow soldiers about a massacre that occurred during the war. Multiple first-hand accounts across platoons corroborated that American soldiers had been ordered to destroy a village and kill all its civilian inhabitants. After hearing about the massacre, Ridenhour wrote a letter to Congress urging for an investigation. The event Ridenhour exposed is now known as the My Lai Massacre. 

Continue Reading Truth-Telling at the 15th Ridenhour Prizes

Daniel Ellsberg speaks on his experience blowing the whistle.

“What would you do if you were a young professional working at your dream job, and you discover that your employer was lying to the public, promoting a disastrous foreign war, and steadily expanding a weapons program that threatened to destroy human life on earth?”

Daniel Ellsberg faced this question himself multiple times in his life. He posed the same question to the audience during his April 10th talk at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and in his new book, The Doomsday Machine. Ellsberg continued that he believes there are currently thousands of government employees looking at the prospect of nuclear war, whether or not they recognized this sentence as applicable to them.

Continue Reading Daniel Ellsberg On Whistleblowing

Good news for Pennsylvania whistleblowers
Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules whistleblowers eligible to receive noneconomic compensation as rewards.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a big decision for whistleblowers in Bailets v. Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, 2018 WL 1516785 (Pa. 2018). The Court ruled that noneconomic damages are compensable under Pennsylvania’s whistleblower law.

Ralph Bailets was a former Manager of Financial Systems and Reporting with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. During his tenure, he became concerned about the government contractor Ciber Inc., which was politically-connected to leaders of the Commission. When competing for one infrastructure project, Ciber offered the most expensive bid, yet still was chosen for the contract. As Ciber struggled to perform the contract, Bailets took the issue to his supervisor. Bailet’s supervisor initially warned him that Ciber had friends in high places, and later advised colleagues that Bailet “should be kept on a short lease.” He was fired shortly thereafter.

Continue Reading Good News for Pennsylvania Whistleblowers

In his testimony before Congress last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg received tough questions from members of Congress about wildlife trafficking and the illegal ivory trade on his two-billion user social media site.

At the Joint Senate Committee Hearing, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) referenced a recent Time article examining illicit wildlife crime on Facebook, stating, “wildlife traffickers are continuing to use Facebook tools to advertise illegal sales of protected animal parts.” Zuckerberg responded, “we’re going to have more than 20,000 people at the company working on security and content review.”

Continue Reading Congress Questions Facebook CEO on Wildlife Crime

The international visitors delegation take a picture with presenters Michael Kohn, President of NWC, and Maya Efrati, an NWC legal fellow.

A delegation from countries including India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, visited the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) today to learn about U.S. whistleblower reward laws and their role in cracking down on fraud both domestically and internationally. The visit was facilitated by the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), an initiative of the U.S. Department of State.

Continue Reading Delegation from South Asian Countries Visits the National Whistleblower Center

In a recent interview with the AARP, Attorney General Sessions took a strong stance against Medicare fraud. Sessions stated that it’s time to consider taking Medicare fraud as seriously as the war on drugs (certainly an issue Attorney General Sessions believes to be of paramount importance).

Medicare fraud is a serious issue. It is estimated that 10% of Medicare funds are lost to fraud and waste, totaling approximately $16.2 billion. This suggests that billions of dollars, which should be directed to funding health care for our seniors, are instead going to fraudsters taking advantage of American taxpayers and the elderly.

Continue Reading Whistleblowers Vital to Eliminating Medicare Fraud

Today, the U.S. Department of Justice officially dismissed their appeal of case Whistleblower 21276-13W and 21277-13W v. CIR, Case Nos. 17-1119 and 1120 (D.C. Cir.), marking a big win for IRS whistleblowers. Below is a statement from the whistleblowers’ attorneys.

The law firms of Zerbe, Miller, Fingeret, Frank & Jadav, PC (ZMF); Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto (KKC) and Robert Amsel, Esq. are pleased to announce today a key victory for tax whistleblowers with the filing of a joint stipulation for dismissal of the government’s appeal in the cases of Whistleblower 21276-13W and 21277-13W v. CIR, Case Nos. 17-1119 and 1120 (D.C. Cir.). The case was scheduled for oral argument on April 9, 2018 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  It had pitted the U.S. Department of Justice and IRS against two whistleblowers whose information has led to $54.131 million in criminal penalties and civil forfeitures awarded against a major Swiss bank.  The DOJ and IRS were arguing that the tax whistleblower law did not apply to criminal tax cases that resulted in payments of fines and civil forfeitures.

Continue Reading DOJ Drops Case, IRS Whistleblowers to Receive $12.9 Million Award from Criminal Prosecution of Swiss Bank