Comprehensive List of Whistleblower Terms and Definitions
Anti-Retaliation Provision: A legal protection provided to whistleblowers that prohibits employers from taking adverse employment actions against employees who report fraud or misconduct.
Anti-Money Laundering: The prohibition against using banks in the execution of transactions to eventually convert illegally obtained money into legal money. Money laundering whistleblowers can file through the AML whistleblower program.
Anonymous Hotline: A telephone or internet-based service that allows whistleblowers to report illegal or unethical behavior without revealing their identity. For government anonymous hotlines, whistleblowers generally will not be able to receive a whistleblower award. For company anonymous hotlines employees often find they are not as anonymous as one thinks and could result in the employee’s termination.
Audit: A systematic review of an organization’s financial records, procedures, and performance to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.
Anonymity: The state of being unknown or unnamed, such as when a whistleblower reports misconduct without revealing their identity. Certain statutes like the IRS whistleblower statutes, the AML whistleblower statute, the NHTSA whistleblower statute and the NHTSA whistleblower statute provide for anonymity with the use of a whistleblower attorney, although it’s not guaranteed from start to finish.
Bounty: A monetary reward paid to whistleblowers who provide information that leads to a successful recovery in a fraud case.
Blow the Whistle: To report illegal or unethical behavior by an individual or organization to the appropriate authorities.
Bribery: The act of offering, giving, or receiving something of value in exchange for influence or a favorable outcome. Bribing foreign officials may give rise to liability under the False Claims Act and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Compliance Officer: An individual or team responsible for ensuring that an organization complies with legal and regulatory requirements, including those related to fraud and misconduct.
Confidentiality Agreement: A legal document that requires parties to keep certain information confidential and not disclose it to others, often used in settlement agreements.
Confidential Informant: A person who provides information to authorities or law enforcement agencies about illegal activities or crimes.
Compliance: The act of following rules, regulations, and laws.
Confidentiality: The state of keeping information private and not sharing it with others.
Corruption: Dishonest or illegal behavior by people and/or companies in positions of power.
Code of ethics: A set of guidelines that outlines an organization’s values, principles, and standards of conduct.
Conflict of interest: A situation in which a person has competing interests or loyalties that could interfere with their ability to act in the best interests of their employer or organization.
Corporate social responsibility: The practice of companies taking responsibility for their impact on society and the environment, in addition to their financial performance.
Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP): The main regulatory standard for ensuring reliable manufacturing quality, particularly pharmaceutical quality enforced by the FDA. CGMPs assures proper design, monitoring, and control of manufacturing processes and facilities. Lapses in CGMP may impact product integrity and may give rise to liability under the False Claims Act if the federal government is paying for the product through a government insurance like Medicare.
Commodity Exchange Act (CEA): Statutory framework under which the CFTC operates. Regulates the trading of commodity futures in the United States.
Damages: The amount of money that the government or other parties can recover in a fraud case, including actual damages, treble damages, and civil penalties.
Dodd-Frank Act: A federal law that provides whistleblower protections and incentives for reporting violations of securities laws.
Department of Justice (DOJ): A federal executive department of the United States government tasked with the enforcement of federal law and administration of justice in the United States. The DOJ is the primary investigative agency for False Claims Act cases.
Department of Labor (DOL): A federal executive department of the United States government responsible for the administration of federal laws governing occupational safety and health, wage and hour standards, unemployment benefits, reemployment services, and occasionally, economic statistics. Handles OSHA matters.
Department of Defense (DOD) : The United States Department of Defense is an executive branch department of the federal government charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the U.S. government directly related to national security and the United States Armed Forces. The DOD will investigate matters under the False Claims Act involving defense contractor fraud.
Disclosure: The act of revealing information that was previously unknown or kept secret. Contemporaneous with the filing of a False Claims Act, the relator is obligated to file a Disclosure Statement.
Disclosure Statement: The False Claims Act dictates that contemporaneous with filing the False Claims Act complain the complainants must serve various entities, the relator must disclose information that is relevant to the lawsuit.
Due diligence: The process of conducting thorough research and investigation before making a decision or taking action. Failure to take certain due diligence steps may be evidence of liability or show some degree of negligence.
Data Miners: In a whistleblower sense, data miners refer to individuals or groups who are external to the businesses they investigate in contrast to true insider whistleblowers. They gather and consolidate data from various sources to identify businesses that may be ineligible for certain benefits or privileges. Some data miners comb through Medicare databases looking for overutilization rates or other red flags that may signify Medicare Fraud. Others compare the size and complexion of companies in contrast to what they submitted for their PPP Loan to determine PPP Loan Fraud. If their data turns up indications of fraud they often file a case under the False Claims Act, but may be reduced to a lower whistleblower award, if successful, since their information is not from the inside
Declined/Declination: It refers to the government’s decision not to intervene and thus not to lead the False Claims Act litigation. The whistleblower law firm can still proceed with the lawsuit, but the government has the authority to intervene and move for dismissal at any point, even against the relator’s objections, as long as the relator is notified and given a chance to be heard and present exceptional circumstances to continue the litigation. The average declined case that resolves results in approximately a $3 million settlement. The whistleblower is entitled up to 30% of what the government recovers.
Defense Contractors: They can be defined as vendors or companies that provide goods, services, or equipment to the United States government specifically for defense purposes. These contractors enter into contracts with the government to supply various defense-related products, such as military equipment, weapons, aircraft, vehicles, technology systems, and support services. Defense contractors play a crucial role in supporting national security and military operations by supplying the necessary resources and expertise to meet the needs of the armed forces.
Environmental Protection Agency: A U.S. government agency responsible for protecting human health and the environment through regulation and enforcement of environmental laws. An EPA whistleblower will generally have to argue that in addition to creating an environmental hazard the defendant defrauded the government under the False Claims Act. For example, if a company received a government grant for clean energy and used the monies for another purpose.
Employee Protection Provisions: Legal protections provided to employees who report violations of laws or regulations, including anti-retaliation provisions and whistleblower reward programs.
Electronic Health Record: EHRs refer to electronic health records which differ from EMR’s electronic medical records .Electronic medical records (EMRs) are a digital version of the paper charts which contain the medical and treatment history of the patients in one practice.
Exchange-Traded Fund: An ETF (Exchange-Traded Fund) is an investment product that holds a diversified portfolio of assets, including cryptocurrencies, and is traded on stock exchanges. The SEC regulates cryptocurrency ETFs, and recent court rulings have affirmed its authority over them.
False Claims Act Settlement: An agreement between the government and a company or individual to resolve allegations of fraud under the False Claims Act.
False Claims Act (FCA): A federal law that imposes liability on entities that submit false or fraudulent claims for payment to the federal government. The statute calls for triple damages, plus attorneys’ fees and costs. Whistleblowers under the False Claims Act are entitled to up to 30% of the recovery if the government declines intervention and up to 25% if the government intervenes. Over the last decade the government has consistently recovered over a billion dollars a year under the False Claims Act and whistleblowers have received hundreds of millions of dollars in whistleblower awards.
Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR): A set of regulations that governs the acquisition of goods and services by the federal government, including requirements related to fraud prevention and detection.
Filing Under Seal: The False Claim Act requires the whistleblower law firm to file the matter confidentially under seal so it is not public, which means it doesn’t appear on the docket and the defendant is not made aware of the litigation. This gives the government time to investigate the case before it is made public. The seal is typically in place for at least 60 days, but typically for many years as the government can request extensions of the seal. Failure to file properly under seal may destroy the case before it begins.
Fair Market Value: A barometer used to determine if something of value may constitute a kickback under the False Claims Act. Objectively looking at the value of a sale or a good or service provided to determine if its inline with what others are paying. For example, if speaking fees for an obscure physician are generally $500, but a pharmaceutical company is paying $5,000, it may be considered a kickback because the fees are ten times the normal.
Financial misconduct: The act of engaging in dishonest or unethical behavior related to financial matters, such as accounting fraud, embezzlement, or insider trading.
Fraud: Intentionally deceiving others to gain something of value.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”): A federal law that prohibits companies and individuals from making payments or offering bribes to foreign government officials or political parties for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. The FCPA also requires companies that are publicly traded in the United States to maintain accurate books and records and to have internal accounting controls. Violations of the FCPA may give rise to liability under the False Claims Act
Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”): A U.S. law that provides the public with access to government records and information, with certain exceptions.
False Reporting: False reporting occurs when a trader submits false information to a reporting facility, such as a swap data repository or a clearinghouse. False reporting can distort market prices and manipulate the market.
False Advertising: If a company is making false or misleading claims about its products or services in order to attract investors, this could be a violation of CFTC regulations.
First-to-File Rule: Under the False Claims Act, relators are prohibited from recovering from a qui tam action based on allegations that completely overlap a previously filed action. This is why filing promptly is critical. In practice, the latter filed matter(s) may have argument why their claims don’t completely overlap in cause of action, conduct or temporal scope.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): The FCPA is a United States federal law enacted to address bribery and corruption in international business transactions. It is designed to prevent companies and individuals from bribing foreign officials to obtain or retain business advantages. The FCPA applies to both U.S. companies and foreign companies that have a presence in the United States, as well as individuals who are U.S. citizens, residents, or acting on behalf of U.S.-based entities.
Government Accountability Office (GAO): An independent agency that provides auditing, evaluation, and investigative services to Congress, including investigations related to fraud and waste in government programs.
Governance: The process of overseeing and managing an organization to ensure that it operates ethically, effectively, and in the best interests of stakeholders.
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP): A set of nationally recognized accounting principles, procedures, and guidelines to prepare and present financial statements. GAAP provides a framework for consistent and reliable financial reporting, ensuring that financial statements are prepared in a uniform and understandable manner. Failure to adhere to GAAP may lead to potential IRS violations and/or SEC violations.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): A federal law that protects the privacy and security of personal health information and includes provisions related to whistleblower protection.
Harassment: Any behavior that creates a hostile or intimidating work environment, including verbal or physical abuse, threats, or discrimination. Harassment that is retaliatory based on a whistleblower complaint, can be addressed under a properly invoked whistleblower statute, but it’s important to make sure the individual qualifies for protections under the statute. Various state laws to some extent, may give an employee protection from some forms of harassment.
Human Resources (“HR”): The department within an organization responsible for managing employees, including hiring, training, benefits, and performance evaluation. Human Resources may have certain mechanisms for whistleblowers to report information, but often times the whistleblower will endure retaliation despite assurances to the contrary.
Internal Controls: Policies and procedures that organizations implement to ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, prevent fraud and misconduct, and detect and remediate violations.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS): The revenue service for the United States federal government, which is responsible for collecting U.S. federal taxes and administering the Internal Revenue Code, the main body of the federal statutory tax law. The IRS will investigate matters invoking the IRS whistleblower statute.
Internal Investigation: An inquiry conducted by a company or organization to determine whether any illegal or unethical behavior has occurred within the company.
Inspector General: An independent government official responsible for investigating allegations of waste, fraud, or abuse within an agency or department.
Insider Trading: Insider trading occurs when a trader uses material, non-public information to trade in a market. Insider trading can give the trader an unfair advantage and can harm other market participants.
Implied Certification Theory: Under the False Claims Act, a defendant may be liable for submitting a false claim if it certifies compliance with statutory, regulatory, or contractual requirements and fails to do so. This concept sometimes raises issues of materiality where a defendant will argue that the other certified terms are too remote to be considered an integral factor into payment.
Impossible day: When greedy physicians upcode so much that the aggregate time spent with all patients exceeds 24 hours.
Intervened/Intervention: In the False Claims Act (FCA), intervention occurs when the government takes over the litigation of a qui tam case. In an intervened case the relator could receive a whistleblower award of 15-25%. The average intervened False Claims Act settlement is approximately $13 million.
Justice Department: A federal agency responsible for enforcing laws and regulations related to fraud and misconduct, including the False Claims Act.
Knowingly: An element of many fraud statutes that requires the defendant to have knowledge of the false or fraudulent nature of their actions.
Kickbacks: Receiving payments, gifts or items above fair market value in exchange for referring patients to a particular health care provider or supplier or by a pharmaceutical company to induce health care practitioners to prescribe their product. Kickbacks are specifically prohibited under the False Claims Act and through the Anti-Kicback Statute.
Know Your Client (KYC): – A key concept in AML (anti-money laundering) doctrine that imposed a duty on a financial institution to conduct due diligence on its clients. The entity must know its client’s identity, the nature of their business, and any risk they pose. The AML statute may hold financial entities and fiduciaries accountable for money laundering who fail to know their client and even if there is no underlying money laundering, massive lapses in KYC could lead to liability.
Liability: Legal responsibility for damages or penalties resulting from fraudulent or illegal actions.
Lex Machina: An information site that aggregates data and generates reports such as placing Brown, LLC as one of the most prolific whistleblower law firms under the False Claims Act.
Litigation The process of taking legal action to resolve a dispute, often through a lawsuit or settlement.
Materiality: A key element in proving a violation of the False Claims Act, meaning that the false or fraudulent claim must be important or relevant to the government’s decision to pay.
Misconduct: Any behavior that violates ethical or legal standards, such as fraud, bribery, or harassment.
Manipulation: Manipulation occurs when a trader engages in conduct that artificially affects the price of a commodity. Manipulation can distort market prices and harm other market participants.
Misuse of customer funds: If you become aware of a broker or trader who is using customer funds for personal gain or engaging in other fraudulent activities, this may be a violation of CFTC regulations.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Whistleblower Program: Individuals who report safety-related defects or noncompliance are also eligible for a monetary reward if their information leads to a successful enforcement action resulting in monetary sanctions of $1,000,000 or more. The reward is equal to 10 to 30 percent of the monetary sanctions collected by the government.
Non-Disclosure Agreement (“NDA”): A legal document that prohibits parties from disclosing certain information to others, often used in employment contracts. The use of certain types of NDAs are prohibited by the SEC if they interfere with truthful cooperation with the authorities. Additionally, the NLRB has question the enforceability of NDAs.
Non-Retaliation Policy: A policy that protects whistleblowers from retaliation by their employer for reporting illegal or unethical behavior.
Non-intervened: It refers to False Claims Act (FCA) cases in which the government, decides not to intervene or take an active role in litigating the case. In non-intervened cases, the whistleblower, known as the relator, continues to pursue the lawsuit on behalf of the government. The average non-intervened case that resolves results in approximately a $3 million settlement. The whistleblower is entitled up to 30% of what the government recovers.
NDA: A New Drug Application is a submission made by a pharmaceutical company to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when seeking approval to market and sell a new drug in the United States. Falsification of the foundation of the NDA may render all billing of the product as fraud if the FDA approved the product under a false submission. It may implicate Medicare Fraud, Medicaid Fraud, Tricare Fraud, and/or private insurance fraud under California or Illinois statutes depending who the payor is.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): A federal agency responsible for enforcing workplace safety and health regulations and investigating whistleblower complaints related to workplace safety and health.
Off Label Marketing: Marketing or promoting a drug for uses that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Off Label Promotion: Marketing or promoting a drug for uses that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Occupational fraud: Fraudulent activity committed by an employee or executive within an organization, often for personal financial gain.
Office of the Whistleblower: A department within the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that provides information and support to whistleblowers who report violations of securities laws.
Original Source: Under the False Claims Act and other whistleblower statutes, who the government considers is the source of the information that led to the successful prosecution of the case. Considerations of who is the original source stem from who first reported the matter and has direct and independent knowledge of the information on which the allegations are based and who voluntarily provided that information to the government before filing the qui tam. Sometimes, there is an interplay and competition with the First-to-File rule as the original source of the information to the government may not have reported it via a filed False Claims Act matter, and in the interim someone else does, and then the original source files the matter subsequently. The first-to-file individual isn’t the original source, and the original source isn’t the first-to-file.
Objective Falsity: When a claim made to the government is false on its face. The information provided in the claim is demonstrably untrue, regardless of the intentions or beliefs of the person making the claim. Contrasted with subjective falsity, which refers to situations where a claim is not literally false, but is made with knowledge or reckless disregard of its falsity or scienter that it is false. In 2023 the Supreme Court is deciding a matter where arguable the defendants subjectively believed the submissions were false, but subsequently lawyers tried to spin the scienter indicating there was an objectively reasonable path of conduct, and therefor the bad intent at the time is irrelevant. Based on the oral arguments held of April 19th, 2023, it is the opinion of this whistleblower legal commentator that the Supreme Court will rule the subjective intent is relevant by a wide margin, perhaps even 9-0 and also may provide further clarifications about certain False Claims Act standards in dicta.
Protected Disclosures: Reports of fraud or misconduct made by whistleblowers that are protected by law from retaliation by employers.
Public Disclosure Bar: A provision in the False Claims Act that limits the ability of whistleblowers to file a lawsuit if the fraud has already been publicly disclosed.
Phantom Billing: Billing for services or equipment that were never actually ordered by a physician and/or provided to a patient.
Phantom Patients: Submitting claims for patients who do not actually exist. This can be done in many ways such as creating fake patient records or using the identities of real patients without their knowledge.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): An exigent government loan program created by Congress and administered through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help small businesses and other organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to cover payroll and other essential expenses. With a premium placed on the speed of distributing the funds and an initial lack of oversight, the program was defrauded billions. Whistleblowers can report PPP Loan Fraud through the False Claims Act.
Pro Se: A latin term meaning by oneself referring to a person represents himself/herself in court when either filing an action or responding to an action without the assistance of an attorney. The False Claims Act specifically forbids pro se plaintiffs and requires the use of a whistleblower law firm.
Public interest: The welfare or well-being of the general public, as opposed to the interests of a specific individual or group.
Ponzi Schemes: Ponzi schemes are fraudulent investment schemes that promise high returns but actually use new investor funds to pay off earlier investors, rather than generating legitimate profits. Some common red flags that may indicate a Ponzi scheme include:
- High, consistent returns: If an investment opportunity is promising unusually high or consistent returns, this may be a sign of a Ponzi scheme. Legitimate investments typically involve some level of risk and are not guaranteed to generate consistent returns.
- Pressure to invest: If someone is pressuring you to invest quickly or is encouraging you to invest all of your savings, this may be a sign of a Ponzi scheme. Ponzi schemes often rely on pressure tactics to get investors to hand over their money quickly.
- Lack of documentation: If an investment opportunity does not provide detailed documentation about its business plan or financials, this may be a sign of a Ponzi scheme. Legitimate investments should provide clear information about how investor funds will be used and should be transparent about their financials.
- Unlicensed sellers: If the person selling the investment opportunity is not licensed or registered with the appropriate regulatory agencies, this may be a sign of a Ponzi scheme. Legitimate investment sellers should be properly registered and licensed with the appropriate regulatory agencies.
- Difficulty accessing funds: If an investment opportunity makes it difficult or impossible to withdraw your funds, this may be a sign of a Ponzi scheme. Ponzi schemes often use new investor funds to pay off earlier investors, so it may be difficult to access your funds if the scheme is collapsing.
Presentment Requirement: Requires a defendant to present a false claim to the government for payment for liability under the False Claims Act. It is not limited to actual claims for payment, but also encompasses conduct that is intended to induce the government to make payments.
Polansky Opinion: A United States Supreme Court holding from June 2023 indicating that in False Claims Act cases the government may intervene and dismiss the matter at any point in the litigation above the objections of relator’s counsel and unless it can be shown that exceptional circumstances exist to proceed.
Qui Tam: Qui tam is the shortened version of the Latin phrase “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur,” which means “He who sues on behalf of the King as well as for himself.”
In a qui tam action an individual commences an action against an entity on behalf of the government and since the individual is relating the government’s claim through theirs, they are referred to as a relator as well as colloquially a plaintiff. The real party in interest, however, is the government, which is the true plaintiff in the matter. If there is a recovery, then the relator is eligible for a whistleblower award.
The most invoked qui tam statute in the United States is the False Claims Act in which a whistleblower can receive up to 30% of what the government recovers.
Qui Tam Lawsuit: A type of lawsuit, generally under the False Claims Act, in which an individual or group sues on behalf of the government to recover damages for fraud. In turn, the whistleblower may receive a percentage of the recovery as a whistleblower award.
Qui Tam Whistleblower: A type of whistleblower who brings an action or lawsuit on behalf of the government, as well as oneself, typically under the False Claims Act. The whistleblower may receive a percentage of any damages recovered as a result of the action.
Retaliation: Actions taken by an employer against a whistleblower who reports fraud or misconduct, such as termination, demotion, or harassment.
Reportable Event: An incident that is required by law or company policy to be reported to management or regulatory authorities.
Reporting mechanism: A system or process for employees or others to report misconduct, such as a whistleblower hotline or online reporting tool.
Risk Assessment: The process of identifying, evaluating, and prioritizing potential risks to an organization, such as financial, legal, or reputational risks.
Relator: An individual who brings an action under the False Claims Act or comparable statute, also colloquially known as the plaintiff in the matter, although the true party in interest is the government entity and the whistleblower is relating the interest of the government through their complaint.
Reverse False Claims: Individuals or entities that knowingly and improperly avoid or decrease an obligation to pay or transmit unearned or overpaid money or property to the government. The False Claims Act’s reverse false claims provision is designed to prevent individuals and entities from retaining funds that belong to the government.
Reverse FCA actions: When FCA actions are filed against businesses that submit false claims in order to avoid paying taxes to the government.
Reflexive billing: An example of reflexive billing is if someone walks into a pain clinic for a stubbed toe, and the individual, along with every other patient who goes there, is prescribed opiates, automatically given a brace, automatically given physical therapy and told they need to come back three times a week (for the rest of their life…).
Runners: Individuals who are often paid a commission to recruit patients or healthcare providers. The use of runners is illegal under the False Claims Act for entities that accept government insurance programs like Medicare as it implicates the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS). By providing something of value to induce business renders the referral questionable and casts doubt whether the services provided are medically necessary. The appearance of impropriety is enough co constitute a violation under the False Claims Act if runners are used.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): A federal agency responsible for enforcing securities laws and investigating whistleblower complaints related to securities fraud.
Stark Law: Prohibits physicians from making referrals for certain designated health services to entities with which they or their immediate family members have a financial interest without properly disclosing the interest. Also known as the Physician Self-Referral Law.
Scienter: Refers to the mindset of the actor in an alleged scheme. Sometimes asserted by defendants who claim even though they defrauded the government they didn’t intent to defraud the government.
SEC Whistleblower Lawyer: A lawyer who has a focus of the practice on filing SEC complaints.
Securities fraud: Fraudulent activity involving securities, such as insider trading, market manipulation, or false or misleading statements in securities offerings.
Speak-Up Culture: A workplace culture that encourages employees to speak up about concerns or problems, including misconduct or ethical violations.
Stakeholder: Any person or group with an interest in the success or outcomes of an organization, including employees, shareholders, customers, and the community.
Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower (“SOX”): A whistleblower who reports violations of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which requires public companies to establish internal controls and procedures for financial reporting and to disclose any material changes to their financial condition.
Spoofing: Spoofing refers to a manipulative trading strategy where a trader places and quickly cancels large orders to create false impressions of the market’s supply or demand to deceive others and influence the market price of a security for personal gain. Spoofing is an SEC violation that is illegal under Section 9(a)(2) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which prohibits manipulative and deceptive practices in connection with the purchase or sale of securities.
Small Business Administration (SBA): An independent agency of the United States government that provides support to entrepreneurs and small businesses. The SBA assisted with the promulgation of the PPP Loan Program. Fraud against the SBA or the PPP Loan program may result in liability under the False Claims Act.
Trade Secrets: Confidential business information that gives an organization a competitive advantage and is protected by law, often subject to non-disclosure agreements.
Treble Damages: Under the False Claims Act (and other statutes), Defendants may be liable for up to three times the actual damages. So if a defendant defrauded the government of $1 million, it may be required to pay back $3 million, plus attorneys’ fees and costs.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB): A federal agency in the United States that is responsible for enforcing and interpreting the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA is a federal law that protects employees’ rights to form, join, and participate in labor unions, as well as to engage in other protected concerted activity for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid and protection.
Trade Agreements Act (“TAA”): The Trade Agreements Act (TAA) of 1979 was enacted to foster fair and open international trade. Under TAA, the products sold to government agencies must come only from countries with which the United States has a trade agreement.
The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA): Provides protections for whistleblowers who report violations of anti-money laundering laws and regulations, such as failing to file suspicious activity reports (SAR), Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs), fail to Know Your Client (KYC) and/or other fraudulent activities related to money laundering or failure to conduct due diligence.
Upcoding: Submitting claims for more expensive medical services or procedures than were actually provided.
Unusual Trading Activity: If you notice a sudden spike or drop in the price of a particular commodity or derivative, this may be a sign of price manipulation.
Unregistered Firms or Individuals: If you come across a firm or individual who is not registered with the CFTC but is engaged in activities that require registration, this could be a violation of the Commodity Exchange Act.
U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC): The CFTC is an independent governmental agency responsible for regulating and overseeing the derivatives and futures markets in the United States. The CFTC’s mission is to protect market participants, foster transparency, and ensure the integrity of the derivatives markets. CFTC whistleblowers are highly rewarded for information that leads to a successful prosecution.
Violations of Position Limits: If you notice a trader who is exceeding the position limits on a particular commodity or derivative, this may be a violation of CFTC regulations.
Wash Trading: Wash trading is a type of market manipulation in which an entity sells and buys the same financial instruments at the same time, creating the appearance of market activity while incurring no market risk or changing the entity’s market position. This may be done to falsely show higher volumes or push or pull the price in a particular direction and create false momentum. Deliberate efforts to engage in wash trading to manipulate the price and/or volume of a stock is an SEC violation. Wash Trading is illegal under Section 9(a)(2) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which prohibits manipulative and deceptive practices in connection with the purchase or sale of securities.
Whistleblowing: The act of reporting illegal or unethical behavior within an organization or company, often to expose wrongdoing or protect the public interest.
Whistleblower: A person who reports illegal or unethical behavior by an individual or organization to the appropriate authorities.
Whistleblower Attorney: An attorney who has a focus of the practice in representing whistleblowers.
Whistleblower Hotline: A telephone or internet-based service that allows employees to report illegal or unethical behavior by their employer.
Whistleblower Law Firm: A law firm who has a focus of its practice in representing whistleblowers.
Whistleblower Lawyer: A lawyer that represents whistleblowers.
Whistleblower Policy: A company policy that outlines the process for reporting illegal or unethical behavior and protects whistleblowers from retaliation.
Workplace Retaliation: Adverse actions taken against an employee for reporting illegal or unethical behavior in the workplace.
Whistleblower Award: A financial reward provided to a whistleblower who successfully reports violations of the law under a statute and in turn receives a percentage of the recovery.
Whistleblower Bounty: A financial reward provided to a whistleblower whose properly filed lawsuit or complaint leads to a successful recovery of damages.
Whistleblower Complaint: A formal complaint filed by a whistleblower with an employer, government agency, or law enforcement authority, alleging misconduct or wrongdoing.
Whistleblower Investigation: An investigation conducted by an employer or government agency in response to a whistleblower complaint, to determine whether misconduct or wrongdoing has occurred.
Whistleblower Protection: Legal or policy protections provided to whistleblowers to prevent retaliation, such as job loss, demotion, or harassment.
Whistleblower Retaliation: Any adverse action taken against a whistleblower in response to their reporting of misconduct or wrongdoing.
Whistleblower Reward: The colloquial term for a whistleblower award.
Whistleblower Statute: A law that provides legal protections or incentives for whistleblowers who report misconduct or wrongdoing, such as the False Claims Act or Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
White Paper: A white paper is a comprehensive document that provides detailed information about a financial product, investment opportunity, or fundraising mechanism. These documents are typically used by financial institutions, startups, or organizations to communicate key details to potential investors, stakeholders, or the general public. Financial white papers aim to educate, inform, and build trust by presenting facts, data, and analysis related to the offering. Falsities or fraud in white papers could give rise to securities violations under the SEC whistleblower program, or to the CFTC whistleblower program for commodities violations as well as other liability.
Workplace Culture: The values, beliefs, and behaviors that shape the attitudes and interactions of employees within an organization.