Securities Cases


Top 10 FCPA Enforcement Actions in 2016: Record Year Fuels FCPA Whistleblower Opportunity

Top 10 FCPA Enforcement Actions in 2016: Record Year Fuels FCPA Whistleblower Opportunity

Last year set new records for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement, with 27 companies paying over $2.48 billion in FCPA settlements. In 2016, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reached four of the largest FCPA settlements in history: Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries ($519 million), Odebrecht and Braskem ($419.8 million), Och-Ziff Capital Management Group ($412 million) and VimpelCom Limited ($397.6 million).
These precedent-setting resolutions speak volumes regarding the...

Lincoln Financial Pays $650K for FINRA Cybersecurity Violations

Lincoln Financial Pays $650K for FINRA Cybersecurity Violations

Lincoln Financial Group subsidiary, Indiana-based Lincoln Financial Securities Corp., has agreed to pay a $650,000 Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fine and tighten up its cybersecurity practices after hackers obtained sensitive information on 5,400 customers, FINRA reported Monday.

Breach Follows Recent FINRA Reprimand

This isn’t the first time Lincoln Financial Securities has been in trouble for less-than-adequate cybersecurity. In February 2011, FINRA fined the company $450,000 for insufficient cybersecurity on its electronic portfolio management system, according to the Law360 report. After the company’s 2011 penalty, it amended cybersecurity policies to offer guidance for representatives of cloud-based data storage. Unfortunately, this was insufficient to prevent another breach....


SECs Record-Setting Enforcement Actions Credited to Securities Fraud Whistleblowers

SECs Record-Setting Enforcement Actions Credited to Securities Fraud Whistleblowers

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) record-breaking enforcement numbers reported for fiscal year 2016 highlight the importance of securities fraud whistleblowers in combatting misconduct and illegal activity.

The agency played hardball against securities fraud this year, implementing innovative data and analytics techniques to detect suspicious activity and investigate investment advisors, accountants, companies and their C-Suite leaders.

Whistleblowers across the globe aided in uncovering misconduct and contributed heavily to the overall success of the SEC’s fight against fraud....


SEC Pays $3.75M Whistleblower Award to Australian BHP Billiton Employee

SEC Pays $3.75M Whistleblower Award to Australian BHP Billiton Employee

You don't have to be a U.S. citizen to get a whistleblower award. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has paid an Australian and former BHP Billiton employee a $3.75 million whistleblower award for reporting the company’s violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act at the Beijing Olympics, the Sydney Morning Herald announced Monday.

First Time SEC Pays Whistleblower Award to Australian Employee

The BHP Billiton case marks the first time the SEC has paid a whistleblower award to an employee of an Australian company. Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the SEC offers whistleblowers cash awards for tips leading to successful government recovery. The Australian government does not offer whistleblower rewards or protections to its citizens, and the case is causing regions of Australia to evaluate the possibility of implementing its own whistleblower laws....


SEC Pays Second Largest Whistleblower Award: $17 Million

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced its second largest whistleblower award yet - $17 million - to be paid to an anonymous individual who supplied information that led to a successful agency investigation and financial recovery on securities fraud damages.

Whistleblower Tip Could Lead to $170M SEC Recovery

The SEC whistleblower program does not release details of its cases, investigations or underlying enforcement actions, though given the $17 million award amount, the total amount recovered by the SEC could fall in the range of $56.7 million to $170 million. A fund has been established by Congress to pay the whistleblower awards, financed with monies obtained from successful enforcement actions....


One Week - Two Multi-Million Dollar SEC Whistleblower Awards

One Week - Two Multi-Million Dollar SEC Whistleblower Awards

The website of the Securities and Exchange Commission's whistleblower program is rather welcoming. Its introductory text explains that, “whistleblowers can help the Commission identify possible fraud and other violations” allowing it to “minimize the harm to investors, better preserve the integrity of the United States' capital markets, and more swiftly hold accountable those responsible for unlawful conduct.”

The SEC has been faithful to its practice of keeping cases and whistleblower identities private ever since the Office of the Whistleblower was first established. Partly because of this, SEC whistleblower awards have always been extremely newsworthy, especially when the whistleblower's name somehow made its way into a journalist's desktop.

But if the SEC’s whistleblower awards have appeared to be a rarity so far, that seems to be about to change.

Securities Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program Gaining Momentum

In terms of scope, rewards, and recoveries, the program has been gaining momentum, and it has just hit an important benchmark. SEC has just awarded over $5 million to one whistleblower and $3.5 million to another, all in the span of one week. The $5 million award is the third largest amount the SEC has ever paid a whistleblower....


Key Insights from SEC’s 2015 Whistleblower Report to Congress

Key Insights from SEC’s 2015 Whistleblower Report to Congress

The SEC Office of the Whistleblower (OWB) has released its Fiscal Year 2015 Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program report to Congress. Dodd-Frank offers substantial monetary awards to individuals with information that leads to successful enforcement actions. This year’s report confirms the program’s continued growth and success. Since its inception in August 2011, tips are up 30% and $54 million has been awarded to whistleblowers for their efforts.
SEC Tips, Claims and Award Payouts...

Private International Wealth Management Scam Victims Recover Money from PIWM Ponzi Con

Private International Wealth Management Scam Victims Recover Money from PIWM Ponzi Con

Dennis Edmonds was a stockbroker in North Carolina; Ellwood Jones, a wealth manager in California; and the firm of Foster & Dunhill peddled so-called “business protection plans” in Florida.

They all had one nefarious thing in common, according to Ohio-based investor-rights attorney John Chapman -- they all put their clients into Nikolai Battoo’s “Private International Wealth Management (PIWM)” portfolios, with the bogus claim that Battoo was a financial genius of epic proportions.

Two Peas in a Pod – PIWM’s Nikolai Battoo and Madoff

The PIWM turned out to be a massive Ponzi scheme connected to the infamous Bernard Madoff.  Investors lost $20 billion in Madoff’s house-of-cards scam....


Expert: Compliance Officer SEC Whistleblower Reward Precedent for False Claims Act Awards

Expert: Compliance Officer SEC Whistleblower Reward Precedent for False Claims Act Awards

A $1.4 million SEC whistleblower reward to a corporate compliance officer for reporting company misconduct has caused a tremor through GC, compliance, and audit offices of non-compliant corporations but it signals something tectonic is coming soon according to legal experts. The architect of December’s massive Bank of America $16.6B False Claims Act settlement says the SEC action affirms compliance professionals are also eligible for the more lucrative False Claims Act whistleblower rewards that can reach $100M.

Compliance Officer Scores $1.4M in SEC Whistleblower Action

On April 22 the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a $1.4 million whistleblower reward to a compliance officer who reported information and provided evidence in an SEC enforcement action against the whistleblower’s corporation....


SEC to KBR – Do NOT Bully Whistleblowers: $130K Fine

SEC to KBR – Do NOT Bully Whistleblowers: $130K Fine

The U.S. Securities Exchange Commission fired a $130,000 warning shot at corporate America, fining Houston-based KBR this amount for drafting employee confidentiality agreements to thwart employee SEC whistleblowing for malfeasance. The whistleblower bar calls it an historic step forward for whistleblowers while a prominent pro-business group calls it overreaching.

Harry Barko Whistleblower Lawsuit Brought KBR’s Faulty NDAs to Light

The SEC alleged former Halliburton subsidiary KBR, Inc. included language in their employee confidentiality agreements that effectively required workers to get KBR’s legal department to sign off in advance on any disclosures, including blowing the whistle on corporate wrongdoing – even to the SEC or the Department of Justice, under penalty of firing or other discipline....