The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) was enacted with the aim of curtailing and penalizing the bribery of foreign government officials by U.S.-regulated individuals, businesses, and entities. 

A critical method for effectively combating these illicit practices often relies heavily on whistleblowers, individuals who courageously step forward to expose FCPA violations. These whistleblowers play a pivotal role in holding violators accountable, safeguarding the integrity of international business practices, and preserving economic fairness.

To navigate this complex landscape, whistleblowers often need expert guidance from those well-versed in the nuances of the FCPA and the intricacies of whistleblower cases. This is where the guidance of an FCPA whistleblower lawyer proves invaluable.

In this article, we’ll explore the FCPA’s core components, explain the importance of experienced FCPA lawyers, shed light on the SEC’s whistleblower program for FCPA violations, and more. 

If you are aware of foreign bribery or other violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,contact us here or at 617-823-3217 to learn more about how you can file a claim with the SEC whistleblower program.

Understanding the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, is a significant piece of legislation aimed at fighting corruption in international business dealings. 

Understanding the scope of the FCPA is the first step towards comprehending the pivotal role of FCPA whistleblowers and the need for experienced FCPA whistleblower lawyers. 

What is the FCPA?

The FCPA, enacted in 1977, is a U.S. law that targets two main areas: anti-bribery provisions and accounting provisions. The law was designed to stop U.S. individuals and entities, as well as certain foreign issuers of securities, from bribing foreign officials to gain or maintain business. 

Anti-bribery Provisions of the FCPA

The anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA make it illegal for U.S. individuals, businesses, and public international organizations to offer, pay, promise to pay, or authorize the payment of money or anything of value to foreign government officials with the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. 

Notably, the FCPA doesn’t just apply to direct payments – bribes routed through third-party agents or intermediaries are also prohibited. 

Accounting Provisions of the FPCA

The FCPA’s accounting provisions require companies to maintain accurate books and records and to devise and maintain an adequate system of internal accounting controls. These provisions aim to prevent the off-the-books accounting practices that can facilitate or conceal bribes to a foreign official.

Implication on Foreign Nationals and U.S. Entities

Although the FCPA is a U.S. law, its reach is international. U.S. entities can be held liable for corrupt practices abroad, and foreign entities and individuals can be prosecuted if their corrupt practices meet certain criteria.

In the next section, we’ll delve into why specialized legal expertise is crucial in these cases.

The Necessity of Experienced FCPA Lawyers

Navigating the complexities of the FCPA and the legal landscape surrounding it requires more than just a fundamental understanding of the law. To effectively disclose violations and protect your rights as a whistleblower, the guidance and representation of an experienced FCPA whistleblower attorney is essential. 

Role of an FCPA Whistleblower Lawyer

An FCPA whistleblower lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in representing individuals reporting FCPA violations. Their role is multifaceted, ranging from providing advice and counsel to advocating for their client’s rights and interests.

Legal Expertise and Advice

The FCPA is a complex piece of legislation that encompasses numerous types of practices in different scenarios. It is also closely tied to other legal frameworks, such as the Dodd-Frank Act and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and conduct that violates the FCPA could also trigger other liabilities or exposure. 

An experienced FCPA whistleblower attorney can provide in-depth advice on various aspects of the FCPA and related laws, helping whistleblowers understand their rights, responsibilities, and the potential implications of their disclosures. 

Protection and Representation

Disclosing FCPA violations can pose certain risks, including retaliation from employers. An experienced FCPA whistleblower lawyer can offer protection by ensuring their client’s anonymity is maintained where possible and by advocating for their rights if retaliation occurs. 

Additionally, they represent the whistleblower during interactions with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other relevant government agencies, ensuring their client’s interests are best represented.

The SEC’s Whistleblower Program for FCPA Violations

As part of the broader legislative framework surrounding FCPA violations and whistleblower protections, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) operates a whistleblower program that is vital for enforcing anti-corruption laws and protecting individuals who expose violations. 

Overview of the SEC Whistleblower Program

The SEC’s Whistleblower Program was established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010. This program provides significant monetary rewards to whistleblowers whose information leads to an SEC enforcement action with penalties over $1 million. 

Along with potential rewards, the program also offers anti-retaliation protections to those who come forward with information.

Dodd-Frank Act and Sarbanes-Oxley Act Implications

While the Dodd-Frank Act established the SEC Whistleblower Program, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act also offers crucial protections to whistleblowers, especially those working in publicly traded companies. It is against the law for employers to demote, suspend, harass, or discriminate against whistleblowers. 

How the SEC Whistleblower Program Works

Once an individual provides information about an FCPA violation, the SEC investigates the claim. If the investigation results in a successful enforcement action, the whistleblower is eligible for a reward of 10% to 30% of the monetary sanctions collected. The exact percentage is determined by various factors, including the significance of the information, the level of assistance provided, and the program’s interest in deterring violations by granting awards. 

In this program, anonymity is a cornerstone. Whistleblowers can submit tips anonymously, but they must be represented by counsel to be eligible for a reward. FCPA whistleblower attorneys thus play a pivotal role, ensuring their clients’ identities remain confidential during the process and advocating for the best possible outcome.

Understanding the SEC’s whistleblower program is an essential part of being a successful whistleblower. With the help of an experienced FCPA whistleblower lawyer, you can navigate the complexities of this program and maximize the potential of your disclosure. 

Reporting FCPA Violations to the SEC 

Reporting FCPA violations to the SEC is a process that requires careful preparation and an understanding of the law and the SEC’s whistleblower program. 

Below, we outline the steps you should take to report violations, and how an experienced FCPA whistleblower lawyer can help navigate this process.

Steps to Report FCPA Violations

  1. Document Evidence: Collect and preserve evidence of the FCPA violation. This can include emails, documents, transaction records, or any other proof of the corrupt practices.
  2. Consult an Attorney: Prior to reporting, consult with an FCPA whistleblower lawyer. They can help interpret the evidence, advise on the best course of action, and guide you through the reporting process while ensuring your rights and interests are protected.
  3. Submit a Tip to the SEC: With the help of your lawyer, submit a tip to the SEC. The more detailed and specific your tip, the better.
  4. Cooperate with the SEC: After you have submitted your tip, the SEC may reach out for additional information. It’s crucial to assist the SEC and any other governmental agency’s investigation during this process. 

Role of FCPA Whistleblower Lawyer in Reporting Process

Your lawyer plays a key role throughout the reporting process. In addition to helping interpret and compile evidence, they will guide you through the SEC’s online TCR system to ensure your tip is submitted correctly. 

Should your case prompt an investigation, your lawyer will serve as an intermediary between you and the SEC, making sure your rights are protected while also providing assistance to the government’s investigation of the reported conduct.

And remember, legal representation is mandatory to be eligible for FCPA whistleblower rewards through the SEC whistleblower program.

By working with an experienced FCPA whistleblower lawyer, you can confidently navigate the process of reporting FCPA violations to the SEC, knowing that your interests are being looked after every step of the way.

The Bottom Line

Becoming an FCPA whistleblower is a courageous act that plays a vital role in combating corrupt practices and maintaining integrity in global business operations. Reporting such violations not only holds violators accountable but also helps maintain fair business environments and protect shareholder interests.

AtJeff Newman Law, we specialize in representing whistleblowers in the SEC Whistleblower Program, and we have a long track record of recovering multi-million dollar settlements on behalf of our whistleblower clients. 

Get in touch today for a free confidential assessment of whether you might have a potential whistleblower lawsuit that could result in an FCPA whistleblower award: