The Dodd-Frank Act is a broadly reaching federal act that, in part, attempts to leverage the power of the public at large — or “crowdsource” — investigations. However, despite the promise of the Dodd-Frank Act, whistleblowers still face a catch-22: Report wrongdoing and risk that the internal investigation is not improperly focused on discrediting you, or say nothing and hope that an investigation doesn’t later blame you for willful blindness or conscious disregard. Before reporting under the Dodd-Frank Act, it’s in your best interests to consult with attorney Steve Kardell to prepare for the difficult process ahead.
Under the Dodd-Frank Act, those eligible who voluntarily provide the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with original information leading to monetary sanctions of $1 million or more can receive a reward. Original information of wrongdoing can include:
The Dodd-Frank Act expands the whistleblower protections of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) by incentivizing internal compliance reporting and extending additional protection to those who do use internal reporting procedures. However, not everyone is eligible for an award under the law. Those who are ineligible for the bounty awards under the Dodd-Frank Act include:
However, the business manager, corporate executive or company accountant who independently discovers fraud from nonpublic sources, who reports it internally and who then directly reports it to the SEC within 120 days would receive whistleblower protections and be eligible for a bounty.
The SEC bounty rules established under the Dodd-Frank Act are forcing companies to increase the speed and frequency of internal investigations. To start, these rules furnish an expeditious and convenient means to report and seemingly prevent corporate wrongdoing from continuing. Secondly, they provide the all-important basis for obtaining priority credit for voluntarily reporting existing fraud matters to the SEC. Additionally, the use of internal compliance procedures are incentivized, and potential rewards can be increased for the voluntary use of internal reporting and decreased for the refusal to use the system.
The Dodd-Frank Act is having a substantial impact on both whistleblower law and resultant corporate internal investigations. It is essential that you prepare for and anticipate the corporate response to your whistleblower complaint. Please schedule an appointment with attorney Steve Kardell by phone at 214-306-8045 or online to discuss and plan for your whistleblower report.