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The U.S. Congress has established whistleblower programs with monetary awards to incentivize individuals to report possible violations of the federal securities laws to the Securities & Exchange Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. The information reported to these agencies can be past, ongoing, or future fraudulent activities. They include:  Ponzi or Pyramid schemes or High-Yield Investment Programs Theft or misappropriation of funds or securities Manipulation of a security's price or volume Front running, in which a trader is aware of pending customer orders for a security and buys or sells unfairly. Accounting fraud, in which accountants fail to identify false information made by clients regarding their financial status Pump-and-dump schemes and stock manipulation, including false statements regarding a public company's financial reports and lying to corporate auditors Mutual fund fraud, which entails deceptive acts that disadvantage investors Bribery to obtain or retain business, including with foreign officials Insider trading Fraudulent or unregistered securities offerings Abusive naked short selling Fraudulent conduct associated with municipal securities transactions or public pension plans Initial Coin Offerings and Cryptocurrencies The U.S. Congress has established whistleblower programs with monetary awards to incentivize individuals to report possible violations of the federal securities laws to the Securities & Exchange Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. The information reported to these agencies can be past, ongoing, or future fraudulent activities. They include: Continue reading

Whistleblowers help maintain the integrity and fairness of U.S. financial markets. They are a vital watchdog and play an essential role in the securities markets.  The whistleblower process can be vigorous and draining and comes with risk. Once a whistleblower decides to take a moral stand on what is right, they must carefully prepare for the process and possible consequences.  A whistleblowing complaint might trigger an employment agreement provision that could jeopardize the job of a whistleblower, even out of retaliation. While laws exist to protect whistleblowers who are wrongfully fired, ensuing lawsuits and getting re-established in the workplace can take their toll. There is also the possibility of getting blackballed because of the whistleblower association.  Even if not fired, a whistleblower might suffer fear of termination and reprisal. They might get shunned and emotionally ostracized and find themselves in a hostile working environment. Stress and anxiety are often a natural part of the process.Whistleblowers help maintain the integrity and fairness of U.S. financial markets. They are a vital watchdog and play an essential role in the securities markets.

The whistleblower process can be vigorous and draining and comes with risk. Once a whistleblower decides to take a moral stand on what is right, they must carefully prepare for the process and possible consequences. Continue reading

Whistleblowers should proceed from the very start—as soon as they suspect something is amiss—with the strategic guidance, support, and watchful eye of experienced counsel. The whistleblower path is fraught with difficulty and decision-making that cannot be done without the right attorneys to help. For example:  Whistleblowers need counsel to help determine whether they have a viable complaint to make in the first place and, if so, how to make an informed decision about whether to move ahead. Once the decision is made, whistleblowers need experienced counsel to help them gather the evidence and assemble an effective package to maximize success and persuade the government to get involved. The best SEC whistleblower lawyers have experience with the SEC and the whistleblower program. They need a strong advocate to help them through the process with minimal risk, including protection against possible retaliation and mistreatment, including in the workplace. They are entitled to a vigorous pursuit of the monetary reward that comes with a successful complaint. Rewards given are based on the significance of information and assistance given to investigators. The level of protection whistleblowers receive depends on what they report and how they report it. Counsel is required if whistleblowers want to file an anonymous claim with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Further, they will need counsel to ensure their identities are protected to the extent the law allows.Whistleblowers should proceed from the very start—as soon as they suspect something is amiss—with the strategic guidance, support, and watchful eye of experienced counsel. The whistleblower path is fraught with difficulty and decision-making that cannot be done without the right attorneys to help. For example: Continue reading

“Whistleblowing” is a term used to describe the act of alerting the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in writing, to a securities law violation. For many, whistleblowing is easier in theory than in practice. While most people want to do what is right, and prevent illegal actors from unfair compensation, the fact of the matter is that whistleblowing is often emotionally complicated. While anyone with relevant information may alert the SEC to fraudulent investment activity, tips often come from corporate insiders with intimate knowledge of specific wrongdoing. These whistleblowers face the difficult task of weighing the moral obligation to report the wrongdoing with the consequences their colleagues, or even friends, may face if saddled with a federal investigation into their activities or risk losing their jobs. Whistleblowers frequently struggle with the guilt of betrayal, and wonder if they are doing more harm than good.Whistleblowing” is a term used to describe the act of alerting the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in writing, to a securities law violation. For many, whistleblowing is easier in theory than in practice. While most people want to do what is right, and prevent illegal actors from unfair compensation, the fact of the matter is that whistleblowing is often emotionally complicated. Continue reading

Of course, if you become a whistleblower, it’s only natural to consider the impact this may have on you personally—how reporting may affect your career. You may be wondering if you would be subject to retaliation, or perhaps you’re thinking about the upside—the minimum award you could win. In September 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it had paid out more than $1 billion in rewards to whistleblowers since its new program began. In 2020, one whistleblower received a $114 million payout. But there are other factors to include in your decision to become a whistleblower. Ask yourself how your report might impact your industry, the markets, or even society as a whole?  If Not You, Who?  No matter what, the SEC will never be able to catch public companies that commit wrongdoing without whistleblowers. They don’t have the resources to look into every company; they need insiders to bring violations to their attention. Studies have shown whistleblowers are ferreting out the vast majority of fraud. PricewaterhouseCoopers concluded that whistleblowers were responsible for 43% of all fraud detection. That’s about ten times the amount revealed by external auditors. In 2017, 92% of the False Claims Act cases brought by the US Department of Justice came from whistleblowers—to the tune of $3.4 billion in settlements and judgments. Of course, if you become a whistleblower, it’s only natural to consider the impact this may have on you personally—how reporting may affect your career. You may be wondering if you would be subject to retaliation, or perhaps you’re thinking about the upside—the minimum award you could win. In September 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it had paid out more than $1 billion in rewards to whistleblowers since its new program began. In 2020, one whistleblower received a $114 million payout. But there are other factors to include in your decision to become a whistleblower. Ask yourself how your report might impact your industry, the markets, or even society as a whole? Continue reading

On December 14, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it was awarding $300,000 to one whistleblower “whose high-quality information and continuing assistance significantly contributed to a successful enforcement action.”  According to the press release, the whistleblower had “audit-related responsibilities” when they became aware of potential securities laws violations.  Individuals who audit or have compliance responsibilities usually are not eligible for whistleblower awards, but there are exceptions, such as when a whistleblower “reasonably believes that an entity is engaging in conduct that would impede the investigation”.  Jane Norberg, the SEC's Chief of the Office of the Whistleblower said “This award is an example of the important role that audit and compliance professionals can play in assisting the Commission's enforcement efforts, especially when the entity is attempting to thwart an investigation. The whistleblower attempted to remedy the conduct and provided exceptional assistance to the enforcement staff.”On December 14, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it was awarding $300,000 to one whistleblower “whose high-quality information and continuing assistance significantly contributed to a successful enforcement action.”

According to the press release, the whistleblower had “audit-related responsibilities” when they became aware of potential securities laws violations. Continue reading

Our attorneys are investigating Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) regarding possible misconduct related to their various investment and insurance products and the broker-dealers who sold them. If you have information regarding any misconduct or violations of securities laws, or if you are a victim investor, our attorneys are interested in speaking with you. Among the investments offered by Northstar are: Global Index Product Global Advantage Select Global Interest Accumulator Global Advantage Plus Series Global VIP Elite What Is Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) Ltd.? Northstar Financial Services was created in the 1990s and offered fixed- and variable-rate annuity and investment products. Being based in Bermuda was supposed to offer tax benefits.Our attorneys are investigating Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) regarding possible misconduct related to their various investment and insurance products and the broker-dealers who sold them. If you have information regarding any misconduct or violations of securities laws, or if you are a victim investor, our attorneys are interested in speaking with you.

Among the investments offered by Northstar are: Continue reading

A whistleblower complaint was filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, which accuses the nonprofit organization Shake-A-Leg Miami of tax law violations, Florida law and Fair Labor Standards violations, and county ordinance violations. The complaint was filed by Jason Krieger, who was employed as the chief operating officer of Shake-A-Leg Miami starting in January, 2020. Whistleblower attorney Scott Silver was interviewed by Law.com/Daily Business Review, and emphasized the need for quick action if the whistleblower’s allegations are true: “Immediately, begin an investigation, identify wrongdoers, seek the return of the money that was improperly taken. And ultimately, give the community the confidence that the foundation itself doesn’t have the problem and clean up the wrongdoing,” Scott said.A whistleblower complaint was filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, which accuses the nonprofit organization Shake-A-Leg Miami of tax law violations, Florida law and Fair Labor Standards violations, and county ordinance violations.

The complaint was filed by Jason Krieger, who was employed as the chief operating officer of Shake-A-Leg Miami starting in January, 2020. Continue reading

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