International Whistleblower

Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP (SFMS) has an extensive practice representing international whistleblowers under the False Claims Act (FCA) and the Dodd-Frank Reform and Consumer Protection Act ("Dodd-Frank" or "SEC Whistleblower Program"), as well as under similar statutes.

We are currently representing whistleblowers residing in a number of Asian and European countries and have a team of attorneys and staff members proficient in a number of languages, as well as State Department-approved translators and interpreters who work with us to process potential whistleblower claims and facilitate communications with our clients. In addition, Howard Brown on behalf of JS Brown Limited, is focused exclusively on representing the interests of international whistleblowers. In such matters, SFMS has been successful in recovering tens of millions of dollars for our clients with future recoveries expected to exceed over $500 million.

For a full description of our practice regarding international whistleblower litigation, contact SFMS at 866-540-5505 to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced whistleblower lawyers or email James E. Miller ([email protected]), Laurie Rubinow ([email protected]w.com) or Valerie L. Chang ([email protected]).

The United States has a long history of statutorily encouraging whistleblower actions dating back to the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, when Congress passed the False Claims Act. The FCA's purpose was, and continues to be, to: a) impose liability on those who defraud the U.S. government (collectively, with state and local governments, the "U.S. government"); b) permit whistleblowers (who are often also referred to as "relators") to file qui tam actions; c) help fight against public and private corruption; and d) compensate relators for stepping forward and in connection with their efforts in assisting the U.S. government in prosecuting a whistleblower action. The FCA has proven to be an effective tool to enforce anti-corruption and anti-fraud laws in the United States. For example, the United States Department of Justice announced that, for fiscal year 2013, the United States recovered $3.8 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases concerning fraud against its government and that $2.9 billion of these recoveries -- approximately 76 percent -- resulted from whistleblower cases.

Whistleblower claims in the United States have been expanded beyond the scope of the FCA (generally relating to instances in which the U.S. government is defrauded), and now include potential claims under Dodd-Frank, 15 U.S.C. §78u-6, et seq., the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), 12 U.S.C. § 1833a (discussed in detail below), the Financial Institutions Anti-Fraud Enforcement Act of 1990 (FIAFEA) and the Internal Revenue Service's whistleblower program. Recent experience has shown that the opportunities for whistleblowing are expanding well beyond the U.S. borders. Indeed, the U.S. government's enforcement activities are increasingly focusing on non-U.S. companies. For example, the largest health care fraud settlement in U.S. history was in 2012 against a U.K. company, GlaxoSmithKline LLC. Moreover, non-U.S. companies are increasingly becoming one of the focal points of the U.S. government's other enforcement activities based on whistleblower reports. For example, in fiscal year 2013, out of 3,238 whistleblower tips received by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under Dodd-Frank (discussed more fully below), 404 tips originated from outside the United States.

Potential whistleblower claims may include:

  • Accounting fraud
  • Auditor complicity in fraud
  • Manipulation of share's or security's value, price or volume
  • Fraudulent or unregistered offer or sale of shares or securities, including Ponzi schemes, high-yield investment programs or other investment programs
  • Insider trading
  • False or misleading statements about a company
  • Abusive naked short selling
  • 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 (in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act)

A violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act can also give rise to a potential whistleblower claim against publicly traded companies. This is because Dodd-Frank applies to violations of securities laws and, pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 78dd-1, the FCPA is a securities law which governs all U.S. issuers. Under the FCPA's anti-bribery provision, it is unlawful for certain classes of persons and entities, including U.S. companies and citizens, companies listed on the U.S. stock exchange (including foreign companies whose misconduct touches and concerns the U.S.), or any person acting while in the U.S., to make payments or offers of payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Finally and quite importantly, under Dodd-Frank, the SEC is expressly authorized to impose aiding and abetting liability on any person who "knowingly or recklessly had aided, abetted, counseled, commanded, induced, or procured" a violation of the Securities Exchange Act, Investment Advisers Act or the Investment Company Act. Such person who provides substantial assistance to another person in the violation of these laws "shall be deemed to be in violation of such provision to the same extent as the person to whom such assistance is provided."

Please contact SFMS at 866-540-5505 to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced whistleblower lawyers or email James E. Miller ([email protected]), Laurie Rubinow ([email protected]) or Valerie L. Chang ([email protected]).