Whistleblower claims can result in complicated compliance problems and serious damage to a company’s reputation and brand. With a marked, across-the-board increase in whistleblowing, it is more important than ever to handle these matters with the utmost care and the support of experienced professionals. Buckley counsels and defends businesses and individuals facing serious allegations and complex claims. Our team navigates clients through and beyond internal investigations, government enforcement actions, and whistleblower and qui tam actions arising from the False Claims Act (FCA); Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX); Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act; Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA); and other whistleblower statutes.
Our attorneys work with clients to draft and implement whistleblower policies and procedures, as well as establish internal reporting mechanisms such as hotlines and ombudsmen. Our team reviews existing whistleblower programs and revises existing policies and procedures to prevent issues giving rise to whistleblower reports in the first place — and effectively resolve those reports when raised.
When claims do arise, our experienced team has the tools to lead internal investigations in response to whistleblower allegations. We assist in responding to enforcement and regulatory obligations from government agencies, including Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosure requirements, and render appropriate internal recommendations for remediation, as well as advise on related employment retaliation claims.
Our team includes former government prosecutors and seasoned litigation defense counsel. One of our team members served as Chief of the Civil Division of U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and established and supervised the SDNY’s Civil Frauds Unit, which handles whistleblower investigations and lawsuits under the FCA and FIRREA.
- Led an internal investigation for a publicly traded bank into whistleblower claims of anti-money-laundering noncompliance
- Handled an internal investigation for a publicly traded bank into whistleblower claims of improprieties in suspicious activity reports (SARs)
- Directed investigation for a publicly traded mortgage originator into allegations of appraisal fraud
- Led an internal investigation for a publicly traded company into allegations of noncompliance with rules and regulations governing when costs could be sought from the federal government
- Handled a retaliation investigation for a top 10 financial institution relating to numerous allegations of improper mortgage practices
- Successfully represented a top mortgage loan servicer in an FCA qui tam investigation into servicing and loss mitigation activities, in which the government declined to intervene in the case; the district court granted our motion to dismiss, and the Sixth Circuit upheld the dismissal
- Successfully represented a national financial services firm in an FCA qui tam investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the SDNY, in which the government declined to intervene in the case and the relator’s case was voluntarily dismissed
More than 70 inspectors general throughout federal agencies and other governmental entities have the power to issue subpoenas, coordinate with civil enforcement agencies, make referrals to and work with criminal prosecutors, issue public reports, and liaise with Congress. These investigations and potential enforcement actions can significantly strain resources, impede normal business activity, and cause reputational damage.
Buckley regularly guides clients through these inquiries and investigations, including those triggered by or involving whistleblowers, as well as handles the civil and criminal enforcement actions and congressional inquiries that arise from IG investigations.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is sticking to its three-fold mission of protecting investors, maintaining fair and orderly markets, and encouraging capital formation as it responds to the Covid-19 pandemic by issuing regulatory guidance on crisis-relevant market and capital issues,...Buckley Commentary & Analysis
"It's all in the footnotes: A field guide to SEC whistleblower awards" by Christopher F. Regan (American Bar Association Business Law Today)
More than seven years since the Dodd-Frank Act’s whistleblower incentive provisions became effective, and more than five years since the first SEC whistleblower program award, only a few courts have put the program under a microscope. In the absence of meaningful case law and in light of the SEC’s...Articles
"Corporate America, expect a spike in SEC reporting" by Christopher F. Regan and Timothy J. Coley (Law360)
Eight years ago, the big debate between corporate America and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was whether whistleblowers should be required to report internally before being eligible for awards and protections under Dodd-Frank’s anti-retaliation provisions. Ultimately, the SEC decided...Articles
"Supreme Court limits definition of ‘whistleblower’ in potentially hollow victory for public companies" by Christopher F. Regan (Westlaw)
On February 21, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers, a long-anticipated case that clarifies who is protected as a “whistleblower” under the Dodd-Frank Act’s anti-retaliation provisions In a unanimous decision penned by Justice Ginsburg, the Court held...Articles
Special Alert: Supreme Court limits definition of “whistleblower” in potentially hollow victory for public companies
On February 21, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers , a long-anticipated case that clarifies who is protected as a “whistleblower” under the Dodd-Frank Act’s anti-retaliation provisions. In a unanimous decision penned by Justice Ginsburg, the Court held...Special Alerts
In early 2018, corporate America will be waiting with bated breath as the U.S. Supreme Court decides a game-changing whistleblower retaliation case. For employees thinking about blowing the whistle on financial malfeasance, this decision will resolve a circuit split and clarify when protections...Articles
Much attention has been focused on the increasing role of whistleblowers in the government’s pursuit of financial fraud. Several federal statutes create bounty programs, allowing whistleblowers who bring fraud to the government’s attention to recover significant sums. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street...Articles
Prolific bank robber Willie Sutton reportedly once said he robbed banks because "that's where the money is." Judging by recent trends, whistleblowers might now give the same reason for filing their financial fraud suits in New York, which has quickly become the venue of choice for financial fraud...Articles
The False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729, which has been around since the Civil War, permits whistle-blowers with information about fraud perpetrated upon the U.S. government to bring civil fraud suits on behalf of the United States and share in the recovery. While much attention is paid to the...Articles
On August 25, the SEC announced a whistleblower award of $18 million to a whistleblower who provided new information and assistance that led to a successful SEC enforcement action. According to the redacted order , the whistleblower provided additional helpful information and substantial,...InfoBytes
On August 4, the SEC announced awards totaling more than $104 million to seven whistleblowers whose information and assistance led to a successful SEC enforcement action, as well as two related actions brought by another agency. According to the Press Release, “the seven whistleblowers were...InfoBytes
On July 12, the SEC announced a whistleblower award totaling approximately $9 million to a claimant who provided information and assistance that led to a successful enforcement action. According to the redacted order , the claimant “repeatedly raised concerns internally” and “provided highly...InfoBytes
On May 5, the SEC announced the Commission’s largest-ever award—nearly $279 million—awarded to a whistleblower for providing information and assistance leading to the successful enforcement of SEC and related actions. The SEC noted that this award is more than double the previous record-holding $...InfoBytes
On January 24, the SEC announced awards totaling nearly $28 million to joint whistleblowers whose information and assistance led to successful SEC enforcement actions. According to the redacted order, the joint whistleblowers’ provided information that prompted the opening of the SEC staff’s...InfoBytes
On January 19, the SEC announced three whistleblower awards totaling approximately $18 million to claimants who provided information and assistance that led to a successful enforcement action. According to the redacted order , the first whistleblower voluntarily provided detailed and significant...InfoBytes
On January 13, the SEC announced an award totaling nearly $5 million to a whistleblower whose new information and assistance led to a successful SEC enforcement action. According to the redacted order , the whistleblower provided substantial ongoing information that helped SEC staff shape its...InfoBytes
On December 19, the SEC announced an award totaling nearly $37 million to a whistleblower whose new information and assistance led to a successful SEC enforcement and related action. According to the redacted order , the whistleblower was the initial source of the company’s internal investigation,...InfoBytes
On December 12, the SEC announced an award totaling nearly $20 million to a whistleblower whose new information and assistance led to a successful SEC enforcement action. According to the redacted order , the whistleblower provided new information, met with SEC staff multiple times, and cooperated...InfoBytes
On November 28, the SEC announced an award totaling nearly $20 million to a whistleblower whose new information and assistance led to a successful SEC enforcement action. According to the redacted order , the whistleblower provided significant information and continuing assistance in the...InfoBytes