Among the many reforms enacted in the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress opened the door to myriad claims by "whistleblowers." They can receive substantial "bounties" (between 10% and 30% of what is recovered) for informing the Securities Exchange Commission ("SEC") or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission ("CFTC") about corporate wrongdoing, including violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") and securities fraud. Dodd-Frank also strengthened the remedies available to a whistleblower who contends that there was retaliation by his employer.
The False Claims Act ("FCA") also contains whistleblower provisions and provides bounties for informing the Department of Justice ("DOJ") about corporations and individuals failing to pay or retaining money that belongs to the federal government. Pursuant to this Act, whistleblowers commonly report alleged violations of anti-kickback laws, health care fraud, and illegal billing practices, among other violations of criminal and civil law.
Important to note — whistleblowing covers a wide range of potential claims. While much of the press commentary on whistleblowing has focused on reporting wrongdoing by public companies and how that impacts corporate compliance policies, whistleblowing extends to non-public companies as well as individual employees.
Schiff Hardin can provide multi-disciplinary assistance to any company or person who may be the target of a Dodd-Frank Act or False Claims Act whistleblower claim. These include our White Collar Crime and Corporate Compliance, Securities and Futures Regulation, Securities Litigation, Corporate and Securities, Public Companies and Labor and Employment groups.
Our assistance includes:
- Education — Our lawyers regularly publish on the Dodd-Frank Act, the False Claims Act, and the federal criminal and civil laws that are the underlying bases for these whistleblower claims, including the FCPA and the newly enacted UK Anti-Bribery Law, which covers every public and private company that does any business in the UK, along with their employees. We also can provide in-house training/briefing programs on the requirements of these Acts.
- Prevention — Our Corporate Compliance services assist clients in managing risks by preventing and discovering misconduct before it is reported to the DOJ, SEC, CFTC, and other governmental agencies and formulating an appropriate internal remedial action to best position our clients to address potential whistleblower claims. These services include preparing compliance policies and programs and conducting sensitive internal investigations.
- Counseling — Our Corporate Compliance services also assist clients in protecting the client from a claim of retaliation against a whistleblower.
- Litigation and Defense — When defense becomes the only option, Schiff Hardin's vast, multi-disciplinary experience and depth is available to vigorously defend against government enforcement actions and prosecutions and any underlying whistleblower claims, whether in a civil or criminal arena.