As of 2015, the total budget for the United States had reached $3.8 trillion. Making sure such a large amount of money is being spent in prudent and honest ways is a significant challenge, one some would suggest is impossible. While the government has an army of investigators and regulators in place and an array of statutes and laws to limit fraud, corruption and over- and improper spending in government, fraud is still a rampant problem. It is a problem not limited to the federal government but, as we learned from the financial collapse of 2008, it is a serious problem in banking and public corporations as well.
After the mortgage crises of 2008, many problems of fraud and abuse were discovered in the banking sector and throughout publicly traded corporations. CEO compensation packages and “golden parachutes” seemed to make the news daily. It was determined that legislation was needed to stabilize the economy, target fraud and corruption, and encourage and protect whistleblowers for their help in uncovering this fraud and corruption. This was part of the purpose of the massive Dodd-Frank Act.
While many feel Dodd-Frank has been largely successful, corruption and fraud are on-going. Whistleblowers are still a critical component of the solution.
What is a “Whistleblower”?
The Dodd-Frank Act specifically defines a whistleblower as:
“…any individual who provides, or 2 or more individuals acting jointly who provide, information relating to a violation of the securities laws to the Commission (SEC), in a manner established, by rule or regulation, by the Commission.”
More simply put, this type of whistleblower is someone with knowledge of fraud in any area regulated by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). This is an individual who comes forward with information by filing a lawsuit to document their knowledge. Often, the whistleblower will be able to supply documentation to support their claim. The individual might be a financial services employee, accountant, stockbroker, or any other person with knowledge of wrongdoing. A whistleblower may be compensated by a certain percentage of funds recovered based on their information. Government employees whose job it is to uncover fraud are ineligible as whistleblowers.
What is the Dodd-Frank Act?
The Dodd-Frank Act is a shortened version of the original, titled Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. This is a comprehensive law that was enacted in July of 2010. The primary purpose of the Dodd-Frank Act is to encourage financial stability by increasing accountability and transparency.
It was enacted as a result of the economic collapse of 2008 to put regulations in place to help prevent the reoccurrence of such a financial crisis. The main components of the act are intended to prevent the excessive risk-taking that led to the crisis. It was the most significant piece of financial legislation passed since the Great Depression and affected virtually all aspects of the country’s financial services industry. The law was initially proposed by President Obama in 2009; after several revisions negotiated mainly through the efforts of Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank and Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Chris Dodd, the law was put into place in mid-2010 and named after the two. The provisions of the act affect everything from the importance of credit ratings, assets, and documentation in securing personal loans to stockholder protections and CEO compensation. The soaring costs of implementing its provisions have caused continued discussions and proposed changes to Dodd-Frank.
The Importance of Whistleblowers and the Dodd-Frank Act
Dodd-Frank demonstrates that the Federal Government understands the importance of whistleblowers in uncovering corruption in public corporations and takes steps to reward and protect these whistleblowers. Section 922 of the act specifically addresses protection for whistleblowers. Those who come forward to expose illegal behavior in public corporations can be rewarded with financial compensation while receiving job protection. There are anti-retaliation provisions in the act which allow for a jury trial if a whistleblower feels they have been wrongfully terminated. If the jury rules in favor of the whistleblower, they must be reinstated to their job and receive back pay. In addition, their legal fees can also be recovered.
Not only are public corporations subject to these Dodd-Frank whistleblower laws, so are their private subsidiaries. If you are aware of such fraud or corruption, it may be time for you to contact legal representation.
What the Dodd-Frank Act Can Mean for You
If you are aware of fraudulent behavior in the financial services industry or in a public corporation or one of their private subsidiaries, you can help achieve the goals of Dodd-Frank while potentially receiving substantial compensation. You can become a whistleblower and have confidence that your position within your company is protected. It starts with an initial, private, legal consultation to discuss the circumstances surrounding your situation. If it appears your case is viable, a qui tam lawsuit will be filed in your behalf. The important step is seeking legal assistance from a firm with experience in whistleblower cases and which understands the protections provided to you by Dodd-Frank and other fraud-related legislation. We invite you to contact The Whistleblower Lawyer, Bert Louthian.
How the Louthian Law Firm Can Help
The Louthian Law Firm has a firm understanding of whistleblower-related laws and protections and has the experience to bring your case to a successful conclusion. We have the knowledge and tools to help dig further into your case. We are aware of the waste and corruption often found in government and in public companies and, with your help, will work to make these situations right and obtain justice for those negatively impacted.
Remember, if your case ends with a positive result, you may receive substantial financial compensation. In either case, it is still the right thing to do. It starts with a no-obligation, initial consultation. Tell us about your experience. Let us know what documentation you may have seen or have access to. We will aggressively pursue your case using the very laws created to fight fraud and corruption. We will make sure your rights are protected in the process. For more information or to set up a confidential initial consultation, please call us at 877.947.4260. You may also Chat Live with us online on our website. The Louthian Law Firm. The Whistleblower Lawyer.