Someone who has knowledge of violations to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) may be entitled to legal protection and a whistleblower reward. An experienced FCPA whistleblower attorney can help whistleblowers stay anonymous and receive the reward they deserve for supplying helpful information to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
What is the FCPA?
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was enacted in 1977, and makes it illegal to bribe foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining new business or retaining existing business deals. The FCPA applies to all United States citizens as well as foreign firms and people who make corrupt payments within the United States. The FCPA also outlines certain anti-bribery provisions that corporations whose securities are listed in the United States must follow, including maintaining accurate and transparent books.
The U.S. Justice Department and the SEC work together to enforce the FCPA. In 2010, the SEC even established a special unit specifically for investigating violations of the FCPA. Violators of the FCPA are subject to significant fines, paying back their illegally obtained money or business gains, and the possibility of jail time.
What is an FCPA whistleblower?
People who have knowledge of foreign bribery have the opportunity to become FCPA whistleblowers. The SEC relies on whistleblowers to expose foreign corruption and bribery of all kinds, whether these bribes are monetary in nature or consist of an exchange of goods and services. Between 2011 and 2018, over 3,000 whistleblowers from 119 different countries have filed claims to be rewarded for their exposure of FCPA violations.
Whistleblowers should always disclose their information to an experienced FCPA whistleblower attorney. The attorney will be able to ensure that the whistleblower gets maximum legal protection and anonymity. Working with a lawyer also increases the whistleblower’s chance of getting an award for the information he or she disclosed to the SEC.
How are whistleblowers rewarded?
The Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 allows the SEC to financially reward whistleblowers who supply relevant information about violations to the FCPA. The reward typically consists of ten to 30 percent of the total amount the SEC collects in sanctions against the violator. The exact reward amount varies based on how essential and helpful the whistleblower’s information was to the SEC investigation, as well as how long the whistleblower waited before disclosing his or her knowledge to the SEC or an FCPA whistleblower attorney.
How are whistleblowers protected?
It is understandable that potential whistleblowers would be hesitant about coming forward to hand over their knowledge to the SEC. They might be worried about being publicly identified and fear losing their jobs or experiencing retaliation in the form of threats, harassment, or stalking. Luckily, the FCPA allows whistleblowers to file their claims anonymously with the help of legal counsel, and there are protections in place to prevent retaliation from occurring.
In addition to laying out the guidelines for rewarding whistleblowers, the Dodd-Frank Act also outlines important protections to both encourage whistleblowers to come forward and to shield them from retaliation and harm. Working with a lawyer allows the whistleblower to remain anonymous until it is time to collect his or her reward from the SEC.
At that time, the SEC does not publicly reveal the whistleblower’s identity except for in rare cases. The person or company the whistleblower helped to turn in for violating the FCPA may never even know that a whistleblower was behind their conviction. Finally, if a whistleblower does become the victim of retaliation in any form, he or she has the right to seek legal action.
If you have knowledge of foreign bribery or corruption, contact an FCPA whistleblower attorney today.