Robbins Arroyo LLP’s whistleblower litigation practice is dedicated to representing individuals, also referred to as “whistleblowers” or “relators,” who expose fraudulent activity. Our attorneys will assist whistleblowers in exposing violations of securities laws through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Whistleblower Program and violations of the False Claims Act.
SEC Whistleblower Program
In July 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) went into effect. The Dodd-Frank Act establishes new whistleblower provisions, modeled after similar whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act which provides substantial incentives and protection for whistleblowers who voluntarily provide information to the SEC which leads to a successful prosecution of securities law violations. The purpose of the legislation is to further promote the financial stability of the United States by ensuring accountability and transparency in the financial system. It aims to protect American taxpayers by ending bailouts, protecting consumers from abusive financial services practices, and discouraging corporations from paying excessive compensation to their executives.
Incentives and Protection for Whistleblowers
The Dodd-Frank Act offers whistleblowers significant incentives and increases protection for whistleblowers in the SEC whistleblower program. This legislation authorizes the SEC to reward those who provide information concerning violations of the federal securities laws at companies that are required to report to the SEC.
Further, the Dodd-Frank Act strengthens the whistleblower protection provisions of the False Claims Act, and contains one of the strongest confidentiality provisions for whistleblowers ever enacted. For the first time, whistleblowers will be allowed to initially report fraud anonymously by filing a claim through an attorney.
Additionally, the law prohibits employers from retaliating against whistleblowers. Employers may not fire, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, or discriminate against a whistleblower. The Dodd-Frank Act expands the reach of whistleblower protections provided under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to include employees of public companies as well as employees of its private subsidiaries and affiliates. Whistleblowers who suffer from employment retaliation may sue for reinstatement, back pay, and any other damages incurred.
Whistleblowers will have the right to appeal if they are denied a whistleblower award, and will have the right to a jury trial if they sue their employer for retaliation after helping the government.
Information the SEC Is Looking for from Whistleblowers
Types of securities fraud that can be reported by whistleblowers include:
- Manipulation of a security’s price or volume
- Fraudulent or unregistered offer or sale of securities
- Insider trading
- False or misleading statements about a company
- Failure to file required reports with the SEC
- Theft or misappropriation of funds or securities
- Fraudulent conduct or other problems associated with municipal securities transactions or public pension plans
- Bribery of foreign officials
False Claims Act Violations (Qui Tam Actions)
Fraud against the government is a serious and widespread problem. The False Claims Act was enacted to encourage citizens to come forward with information and help the U.S. government to combat defense contract fraud, health care fraud, and other types of fraud. Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers, otherwise referred to as relators, may initiate actions against individuals or companies who have committed fraud against the government. The whistleblower/relator may be awarded a portion of any money the government recovers as a result of a successful False Claims Act violation lawsuit, also referred to as a qui tam action.
False Claims Act cases frequently involve fraud by government contractors in connection with a government contract, or involve improper charges by healthcare companies to Medicare or Medicaid or similar state healthcare programs. When a False Claims Act or qui tam lawsuit is filed, it is initially filed under seal so the public cannot have immediate access to the allegations or to the identity of the whistleblower. The False Claims Act also provides relators protection against employer retaliation.
Whistleblower Representation: Robbins Arroyo LLP
Robbins Arroyo LLP fights daily to combat securities fraud at public companies, and will represent individuals who expose fraudulent activity in violation of SEC laws or the False Claims Act. Attorneys at the firm have substantial relevant experience regarding the investigation and prosecution of whistleblower cases, including the successful prosecution of top corporate executives, high-ranking government officials, and corporate entities in regards to a variety of fraud schemes. If you are concerned about an apparent fraud in violation of the SEC laws or the False Claims Act, you may contact us for a confidential evaluation of your case. Please call us at 1-800-350-6003 or submit your information through our case evaluation form. We will contact you directly to discuss your claim.
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