International Whistleblowers - Frequently Asked Questions

1) Do international whistleblowers qualify for SEC whistleblower rewards and CFTC whistleblower rewards?

Whistleblowers from any country - UK, China, Brazil, India, Malaysia and elsewhere - can qualify for a reward under any of the four major US whistleblower programs: the SEC whistleblower reward program; the CFTC whistleblower reward program; the False Claims Act (qui tam whistleblowers); and the IRS whistleblower reward program. Whistleblowers from 61 countries submitted claims to the SEC last year, with the largest number of tips coming from the UK, Canada, China, India and Australia.

2) Which US whistleblower reward program do I qualify for?

Our whistleblower lawyers are experts at evaluating allegations and discussing options with our clients. International whistleblowers file claims concerning a very wide variety of practices. Those aware of possible Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations, securities law violations or commodity law violations may have viable claims with either the SEC whistleblower program or the CFTC whistleblower program. International tax frauds and abuses may give rise to claims under the IRS tax whistleblower program. Whistleblower claims involving overseas frauds that cause the US government financial harm may be brought under the False Claims Act program. Please contact us to discuss.

3) How can I protect my identity?

We understand the risks you face as a whistleblower. The SEC whistleblower program and the CFTC whistleblower program allow whistleblowers to file their whistleblower claims anonymously, provided that you are represented by a lawyer. We work closely with the SEC Whistleblower Office and the CFTC Whistleblower Office to protect your identity from disclosure.

4) How long does the process take before I get a whistleblower reward?

If the SEC or CFTC decides to pursue your whistleblower claim, it is impossible to predict how long it will take the SEC or the CFTC to investigate and resolve the claim. Many factors can influence the length of time including the complexity of the allegations, the location of the evidence and the degree to which the target cooperates, among other considerations. The SEC and the CFTC make whistleblower awards only after a case is completely resolved and funds are recovered. It generally takes several years from the time a whistleblower claim is filed, until the SEC or CFTC approves a whistleblower award.

5) How much time do I have to spend on the case?

The amount of time varies, depending on the complexity of the case and the amount of evidence that must be considered and analyzed. We work closely with our clients to put together a whistleblower claim that is as strong and compelling as possible. Your insights and expertise are greatly valued by the SEC and the CFTC.

6) Can I file a whistleblower claim that involves a former employer if I am no longer working for that company?

A whistleblower doesn't need to be employed by the company that is committing the wrongdoing. However, the whistleblower does need to have detailed knowledge of the fraud or other wrongdoing.

7) Can I file a whistleblower claim if I am an "outsider" and never worked for the company?

A whistleblower does not need to have worked for the target company or individual. A whistleblower's knowledge of the wrongdoing may be based on the whistleblower's independent analysis of publicly available information. Recently, the SEC made a whistleblower reward to a market expert who never worked for the charged company, but whose independent analysis of information demonstrated wrongdoing.

8) How large will my whistleblower reward be?

Whistleblowers whose information results in recoveries exceeding $1 million are entitled to a reward of between 10 percent and 30 percent of the monetary sanctions collected in actions brought by the SEC and/or CFTC and related actions brought by other regulatory and law enforcement authorities. The SEC and CFTC consider many factors in determining whistleblower awards. Those factors include the significance of the information, the timeliness of the disclosure and the assistance whistle blowers and their attorneys provided during the investigation.

9) What success has Phillips & Cohen's whistleblower attorneys had representing international whistle blowers?

Phillips & Cohen has the longest-standing and most successful practice in the US representing whistleblowers. Our lawyers have won more SEC whistleblower rewards than any other law firm, totaling more than half of the total amount the SEC has approved for whistleblower awards. Phillips & Cohen secured for an international client the largest SEC whistleblower award - more than $32 million. We work with international whistleblower clients and foreign regulators on numerous other whistleblower cases. Our whistleblower cases under all US reward programs have recovered nearly $12 billion.