A senior financial analyst at The Walt Disney Company internally reported billions of dollars of alleged financial irregularities and claims that she was harassed and retaliated against for speaking out. In 2017 she filed an SEC whistleblower complaint. Now she is suing Disney.
Sandra Kuba, the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Disney, is a certified Public Accountant (CPA) who was hired as a financial analyst for Disney Financial Services in 1999. Her complaint states that “Throughout her employment, Plaintiff worked incredibly hard and consistently received positive performance reviews.” Continue reading
On Friday, November 15, 2019 The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that a whistleblower award of more than $260,000 had been given to three people who jointly alerted the agency to a “well-concealed fraud targeting retail investors.”
The SEC’s press release does not identify the fraud specifically, but does say that the whistleblowers were harmed investors themselves. Continue reading
If you worked for GPB Capital Holdings or a broker-dealer that sold it, and you have information that helps an SEC enforcement action, you could qualify to receive money from an SEC whistleblower award.
To be eligible for a whistleblower award, a person must provide the SEC with non-public information that is original and leads to a successful enforcement action. When the sanction is $1 million or more, a whistleblower award can range from 10% to 30% of the money collected. Continue reading
An anonymous tip from an employee led to an internal review as well as an SEC review that ended with the award of $4.5 million in May.
The unidentified employee first sent the anonymous tip to the employer, alleging “significant wrongdoing.” The company then conducted its own investigation and self-reported its findings to the SEC, who then launched its own investigation into the allegations. Continue reading
An overseas tipster recently helped the SEC take down a large and long-running securities fraud at the whistleblowers former company.
As per policy, the SEC would not identify the individual whistleblower or the specific securities violation they helped to uncover, but they did note the tipster worked for the company where the alleged securities violations took place and they offered to assist the SEC throughout its entire investigation. The SEC also said that the tipster was not a U.S. citizen and worked for the company in an overseas office.
Jane Norberg, chief of the SEC’s Office spoke about the case saying “Company insiders often have valuable information that can help the SEC halt an ongoing securities law violation and better protect investors,” She also spoke about the SEC whistleblower program in general “The breadth of the SEC’s whistleblower program is demonstrated by this case, where the whistleblower, a foreign national working outside of the United States, affirmatively stepped forward to shine a light on the wrongdoing.”
The Whistleblower business can be very profitable for tipsters, a landmark whistleblower award of nearly $2.5 million was awarded today by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The recipient of this award was the employee of a domestic government agency. Information provided by this whistleblower was instrumental in launching a SEC investigation. The anonymous whistleblower continued to offer assistance and eventually helped expose wide ranging misconduct in an unnamed company.
Jane Norberg, the Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower praised whistleblowers and the continued success of the award program.
”Whistleblowers can provide a wealth of information and ongoing assistance that helps our agency bring enforcement actions quicker and more efficiently,” She also noted the speed allowed by the assistance of whistleblowers.’ “This whistleblower not only helped us open the case, but also provided timely ongoing assistance along with critical documents and testimony that accelerated the pace of our enforcement action.”
A key component of the Dodd-Frank Act is headed to the Supreme Court for review. The court will decide if internal whistleblowers who have not yet reported potential violations to the SEC are protected under the anti-retaliation statutes of Dodd-Frank.
The Supreme Court review is necessary to resolve a split in the lower appellate courts stemming from a case brought by a former Digital Realty Trust Inc executive. In the case, Paul Somers a former employee of Digital Realty seeks to sue for alleged retaliation. Digital Realty had protested a decision by the Ninth Circuit that found that internal whistleblowers were protected under the Dodd-Frank Act’s anti-retaliation statutes, even if they had not yet reported potential violations to the SEC.
Somers’s lawyer, Daniel L. Geyser of Stris and Maher was not surprised by the Supreme Courts willingness to hear the case, although he strongly believed that the Ninth circuits interpretation of the law was in line with the scope of Dodd-Frank as written by Congress.
Even with political clouds of uncertainty from the Trump administration, the head of U.S Securities and Exchange Commission is moving the agency full speed ahead, all the while chastising companies that retaliate or discourage their employees from blowing the whistle on possible securities violations.
Last month, Jane Norberg; the current chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower spoke on a panel at the Practising Law Institute on Corporate Whistleblowing. During the panel, she told attendees that they could expect the same level of enforcement and investigation as in years past.
Open for business
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a former Morgan Stanly employee’s claims that he is entitled to whistleblower protections after reporting to the FBI instead of the SEC.
According to a Law360 report, John S. Verble (CRD# 3197928), the would-be whistleblower, attempted to attain whistleblower protection after he reported illegal activity to the FBI. Verble filed an action seeking the protection in a lower court, where the court ruled that the Dodd-Frank Act’s whistleblower protections only applied to those who report to the SEC.
The Sixth Circuit, according to the report, upheld the lower court decision and dismissed claims that Morgan Stanley fired Verble in retaliation for reporting the illicit activity. The Sixth Circuit did not even consider how to interpret the Dodd-Frank whistleblower protections, as it determined Verble’s allegations of working with the FBI were too vague to state a claim for relief.