On the 10th  anniversary of the Dodd-Frank  Act, which provided the SEC with a whistleblower reward, leading whistleblower attorneys Matt Stock and Jason Zuckerman published an opinion piece on Market Watch titled:  More than 33,000 tips, $2.5 billion in financial remedies and $500 million in awards to investors — the SEC’s whistleblower program turns 10 years old todayAfter recounting the success of the program [“…we’ve learned during this time is that there’s strong consensus that the whistleblower-rewards provisions are effective in detecting and combatting fraud and conserving limited public resources”] the article persuasively explains “five ways in which the SEC whistleblower-reward program promotes the public interest:”

  1. It protects investors
  2. It detects violations, strengthens capital markets and diverts investment resources to more productive uses
  3. It conserves precious enforcement resources.
  4. Whistleblower rewards strengthen corporate compliance and deter fraud.
  5. Incentives compensate whistleblowers for the enormous risk to their career and livelihood.

The short article is well worth the read.

I’ve written and co-authored a number of articles explaining why I believe there should be a criminal antitrust whistleblower statute similar to the one enjoyed by the Securities Exchange Commission. Two such articles are:  It’s a Crime There Isn’t a Criminal Antitrust Whistleblower Statute; and Benefits of a Criminal Antitrust Whistleblower Statute, (Cartel Capers). A criminal antitrust whistleblower program would  produce all the same benefits derived from the SEC program. A whistleblower reward would not only generate new leads but the heightened risk of cartel detection will increase application for corporate leniency.  Think of your average price fixing/bid rigging cartel and we know there is no shortage of potential whistleblowers from sales staff, estimators, support staff and even customers.  Currently, it would take a strong sense of civic duty and a very large trust fund for an individual to seriously consider becoming a criminal antitrust whistleblower.  It’s all pain and no reward. But, someday I believe SEC-style criminal antitrust whistleblower legislation will reignite criminal antitrust enforcement the way the 1993 Corporate Leniency Program did.

PS.     While there is no general criminal antitrust whistleblower, individuals with information about bid rigging fraud against the government can consider bringing a False Claims Act case.  A successful whistleblower can receive a share of the damages recovered on behalf of the government. See Cartel Capers, DOD Bid Rigging Whistleblower and Related Antitrust Division Criminal Cases.

Thanks for reading.  Bob Connolly   bob@reconnollylaw.com

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