The SEC takes violations of the FCPA seriously and is willing to reward people with relevant information. If you possess such knowledge, contact an FCPA whistleblower lawyer.
Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), it is illegal for US persons and public companies to bribe foreign officials in order to obtain or retain a business deal. While the Department of Justice is also responsible for enforcing this law, people with knowledge of foreign bribery can notify the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and receive a whistleblower reward.
Under the Dodd-Frank Act, whistleblowers will receive several robust legal protections in addition to the potential for a reward, making the SEC the best option for reporting violations of the FCPA. In order to take full advantage of these protections, whistleblowers must report their tip through legal counsel, however.
Meissner Associates has the in-depth knowledge of whistleblower law that you’ll want on your side when reporting a violation of the FCPA. By working with an FCPA whistleblower lawyer from our firm, you’ll give yourself the best chance for obtaining a monetary award while enjoying all of the legal protections available.
What Is the FCPA?
The goal of the FCPA is to prevent US persons and companies from unduly influencing the business interests of foreign officials through payments and other forms of reward. It has two primary provisions:
- Promoting transparent accounting practices when US entities engage in business with foreign entities
- Preventing and sanctioning foreign bribery
Importantly, the FCPA does distinguish between bribes and so-called “grease payments.” A bribe is intended to obtain or retain a business deal. A grease payment, on the other hand, is intended to facilitate a business deal. The FCPA allows foreign officials to be paid grease payments in order to expedite completing a task he or she is already duty-bound to execute.
When Is the SEC Interested in FCPA Violations?
As one of the two primary enforcement agencies of the FCPA, the SEC is interested in investigating any violation of the FCPA. In fact, since 2010, the SEC has increased its investigations of such violations and even created a special unit for FCPA enforcement.
Foreign bribery for business purposes is fairly rampant, and there are simply more FCPA violations than the SEC can discover on its own. Because of this, the SEC relies on whistleblowers to help them uncover foreign bribery and questionable accounting practices that violate the FCPA.
Unlike with securities fraud, FCPA violations do not have a materiality consideration. Instead, it’s simply a question of intent. The distinction between a bribe and a grease payment is critical, and an FCPA whistleblower lawyer can help you determine what the intention of the payment really was, as well as whether the SEC is likely to launch an investigation because of the intent.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that bribes don’t necessarily have to be monetary in nature. Gifts and services might also fall under the umbrella of the FCPA. It all comes down to the intention: Was a gift or service made with the intention of obtaining or retaining a business deal?
FCPA Whistleblower Rewards
Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC has been empowered with the ability to reward whistleblowers for supplying relevant and original information to the SEC. While this normally applies to securities fraud and inadequate corporate disclosures, reporting an FCPA violation might also entitle you to an award.
If the SEC launches an investigation and imposes sanctions that exceed $1,000,000, you will receive a percentage of the amount collected. This percentage ranges between 10 and 30 percent, and the exact number depends on several factors:
- How long you hesitated before becoming a whistleblower
- How essential your information was to the SEC investigation
- Whether you were able to assist in the SEC investigation
Whether you were complicit in the FCPA violation will also be a factor. This doesn’t affect the percentage amount, but you could be sanctioned for your actions, and your fine will be deducted from your reward. Culpability in the FCPA violation can also lead to other legal consequences, so you should discuss your involvement in detail with your FCPA whistleblower lawyer.
Dodd-Frank also created a number of protections for whistleblowers in order to encourage them to come forward with the important information they possess. Possibly most important is the ability to blow the whistle and remain anonymous if you supply your tip through an FCPA whistleblower lawyer.
By working with legal counsel, you most likely won’t need to reveal your identity to the SEC until it’s time to receive your reward. Even then, the SEC does not publicly reveal the identity of whistleblowers unless doing so is required by a court or administrative proceeding, which is rare.
You are also protected against retaliation from the target of the SEC’s investigation. You cannot be harassed, threatened, demoted, suspended, or otherwise retaliated against for exposing an FCPA violation.
If you are retaliated against, you have a right to seek legal remedy through the court system. This could make you eligible to receive the following:
- Reinstatement to your position
- Double back-pay
- Reimbursement for the cost of litigating the retaliation
Become an FCPA Whistleblower
By blowing the whistle on violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, you stand to be handsomely rewarded. At Meissner Associates, we have been representing whistleblowers in different industries since 2001, and we have experience helping them receive the largest bounty possible. In fact, we represented the whistleblower who received the largest accounting-related SEC reward to date.
When you need practical experience and in-depth knowledge of whistleblower law on your side, seeking counsel from our firm is the right choice to make. Our founder even helped write the SEC rules that reward and protect whistleblowers. This is firsthand familiarity that will work directly to your benefit.
An experienced FCPA whistleblower lawyer is standing by to assist you. If you would like to submit your tip for a free and confidential evaluation, simply complete the form below or give us a call at 1-866-764-3100. We can help you determine how strong your information is and whether the SEC is likely to reward you.