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
"Cooperation in False Claims Act investigations: The benefits of conducting a proactive internal investigation" by Andrew W. Schilling (Bloomberg Law)
Most companies that receive a civil investigative demand (CID) in a False Claims Act (FCA) investigation decide early that they will ‘‘fully cooperate’’ with the government’s investigation. That’s an easy decision because there really is no alternative: Failure to cooperate with the Justice...Articles
"The False Claims Act seal: Does it bind and gag the defendant?" by Andrew W. Schilling and Megan E. Whitehill (Business Crimes Bulletin)
A company that finds itself the target of a federal fraud investigation often faces the fraught question of whether it may, or even must, disclose the existence of that investigation to third parties, such as its investors, shareholders, major creditors, or insurers. The question can be even more...Articles
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 May 6, the SEC announced awards totaling nearly $3.5 million to four whistleblowers whose information and assistance led to successful SEC enforcement actions. According to the redacted order , three joint whistleblowers provided SEC staff with information that led to the opening of a new...InfoBytes
On April 25, the SEC announced awards totaling nearly $6 million to two groups of whistleblowers whose information and assistance led to a successful SEC enforcement action. According to the redacted order , the first group of whistleblowers provided the SEC with key documents that led the staff to...InfoBytes
On March 28, the CFTC announced approximately $625,000 in awards to four whistleblowers whose information led the agency to a successful Commodity Exchange Act enforcement action. The associated order noted that the claimants “provided the Commission with original information,” and “each provided...InfoBytes
On March 18, the SEC announced whistleblower awards totaling over $3 million to three individuals for providing information and assistance in three separate covered actions. According to the first redacted order , the SEC awarded approximately $1.5 million to a whistleblower for providing...InfoBytes
On March 18, the CFTC announced an approximately $10 million award to a whistleblower whose information led the agency to a successful Commodity Exchange Act enforcement action. According to the CFTC, the claimant voluntarily provided original, “useful information at the earliest stages of the...InfoBytes
On March 11, the SEC announced that it awarded a whistleblower nearly $14 million for exposing ongoing fraud by publishing on online report. According to the redacted order , the whistleblower voluntarily provided original information and prompted the opening of an investigation, which resulted in...InfoBytes
On March 10, the CFTC announced awards totaling approximately $500,000 to two whistleblowers who “separately provided significant information and substantial assistance” that led to a successful Commodity Exchange Act enforcement action. The associated order noted that the claimants voluntarily...InfoBytes
On March 8, the SEC announced that it awarded a whistleblower over $3.5 million for providing “critical” information that led to two successful SEC enforcement actions. According to the redacted order , the whistleblower provided information that prompted SEC staff to further investigate certain...InfoBytes
On February 10, the SEC announced two amendments to the rules regarding its whistleblower program. According to the SEC, the first proposed amendment concerns award claims for related actions that would be otherwise covered by an alternative whistleblower program. The amendment would allow the...InfoBytes
On January 20, the SEC announced whistleblower awards totaling over $40 million to four individuals for providing information and assistance in three separate covered actions. According to the first redacted order , the SEC awarded approximately $37 million to two joint whistleblowers for providing...InfoBytes