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Articles Posted in Whistleblower Program

While allegations of Activation’s discriminatory and harassing culture have been in the news lately, it is of course far from being the only company scandalized by such reports. Let’s take a look at how some other companies have been impacted by similar allegations….  Wynn Resorts  Gambling industry tycoon Steve Wynn lost his job, running the company that bore his name, after the Wall Street Journal broke the news that he had a long history of sexual misconduct allegations. They now face a class-action lawsuit for securities fraud for having made material misrepresentations to investors regarding the allegations. In addition to the lawsuits, the company has had to pay millions in penalties to state gaming agencies.  Signet Jewelers  After an explosive expose in the Washington Post and elsewhere revealed a pattern of gross sexual harassment and other malfeasance at Signet Jewelers, the parent company of shopping mall stores such as Zales and Kay Jewelers, the CEO—who was alleged to be directly participating in the malfeasance—left the firm. The board was reconfigured to achieve gender parity, and the company had to agree to a $240 million settlement of a related shareholders’ derivative lawsuit.While allegations of Activision’s discriminatory and harassing culture have been in the news lately, it is of course far from being the only company scandalized by such reports. Let’s take a look at how some other companies have been impacted by similar allegations…. Continue reading ›

For a bright shining moment, it looked like WeWork was going to be the Starbucks of office space—a worldwide company offering shared drop-in workspaces that people could rent for short or long-term. But lawsuits relating to sexual harassment filed before WeWork’s Initial Public Offering hurt the burgeoning company’s reputation. More allegations began to follow, including charges of gender discrimination and wasteful spending by leadership. Then there were accusations that the workspaces being rented were unsafe: “Some were found to have unsafe levels of formaldehyde.” Soon the company’s chief executive no longer had an office at WeWork.  Research has shown that sometimes when a company is dealing with issues such as sexual harassment, the perpetrators are also often involved in other wrongdoing. Workplaces that are high in sexual harassment may also be higher in other forms of discrimination or worker mistreatment.  In one dramatic example that arose during a due diligence investigation, investigators found a chairman and CEO of a company had a history of sexual misconduct, and, through further investigation, they discovered that he was also committing fraud and forgery.For a bright shining moment, it looked like WeWork was going to be the Starbucks of office space—a worldwide company offering shared drop-in workspaces that people could rent for short or long-term. But lawsuits relating to sexual harassment filed before WeWork’s Initial Public Offering hurt the burgeoning company’s reputation. More allegations began to follow, including charges of gender discrimination and wasteful spending by leadership. Then there were accusations that the workspaces being rented were unsafe: “Some were found to have unsafe levels of formaldehyde.” Soon the company’s chief executive no longer had an office at WeWork. Continue reading ›

The law is clear on this point: If you are a whistleblower who reports a possible violation to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company cannot retaliate against you.  For example, as stated in the Dodd-Frank legislation that created the SEC whistleblower program, “No employer may discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, directly or indirectly, or in any other manner discriminate against, a whistleblower in the terms and conditions of employment because of any lawful act done by the whistleblower.”  Depending on the exact facts at issue, if a company does retaliate against someone for making a lawful report, the company can be liable to the employee, having to pay back pay (or double that) and other compensatory damages. In some cases, punitive damages are also possible.The law is clear on this point: If you are a whistleblower who reports a possible violation to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company cannot retaliate against you.

For example, as stated in the Dodd-Frank legislation that created the SEC whistleblower program, “No employer may discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, directly or indirectly, or in any other manner discriminate against, a whistleblower in the terms and conditions of employment because of any lawful act done by the whistleblower.” Continue reading ›

Under the law, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) can investigate and enforce violations of the nation’s securities laws. On the agency’s website, the SEC provides examples of conduct it is “interested in,” such as Ponzi schemes, insider trading, bribery of foreign officials, and false or misleading statements about a company in SEC reports or financial statements. But all of that seems worlds away from allegations relating to sexual harassment at a company—even if it’s a publicly-traded one. So how does the SEC get “interested” in that?  Ironically enough, allegations of sexual harassment themselves are probably not enough for the SEC to get involved. That is not to say that targets of sexual harassment would be without recourse. For example, they could file complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or a state labor office. But for the SEC to become involved, there needs to be a tie into securities laws.  This can include a corporate culture that leads to misconduct or an impact on the company’s stock price. This can be at a publicly traded company of at a Wall Street brokerage firm.  One of the primary ways that occurs is if a company fails to reveal harassment-related complaints against its leadership or resolution of lawsuits. Companies are required to disclose to the SEC, and shareholders, any litigation or other controversies. Therefore, if a company was investigating the staff’s behavior, or if it had responded to related litigation, that should be included in required SEC filings. Companies also have duties not to mislead investors in filings. So a company can’t promote the excellence of its leadership team, if they know that the team is operating under a cloud.Under the law, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) can investigate and enforce violations of the nation’s securities laws. On the agency’s website, the SEC provides examples of conduct it is “interested in,” such as Ponzi schemes, insider trading, bribery of foreign officials, and false or misleading statements about a company in SEC reports or financial statements. But all of that seems worlds away from allegations relating to sexual harassment at a company—even if it’s a publicly-traded one. So how does the SEC get “interested” in that? Continue reading ›

Last September, the Wall Street Journal first broke the story: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was investigating Activision Blizzard Inc., relating to allegations of how the company had been handling allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. The SEC was reportedly looking into allegations made against Activision, asking for documents relating to six women’s personnel files and separation agreements, board meeting minutes since 2019, and other documents relating to the allegations.  Even in a male-dominated industry such as computer game design, Activision had been known for a drunken “frat boy culture.” Supervisors were alleged to have made passes at women, even groping them at public events. Day-to-day, women were said to have been harassed. They were also alleged to be paid less than their male counterparts, as the men belittled them and took credit for their work.  Allegedly, if women complained to the Human Resources Department, the company purportedly took no actions against the offending employees, but they did retaliate against the women, laying them off, depriving them of promotions, and other punishment. And while senior leaders were not directly implicated in having participated in the actual malfeasance, there were complaints that they had failed to take action if and when they’d learned of the problems.Last September, the Wall Street Journal first broke the story: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was investigating Activision Blizzard Inc., relating to allegations of how the company had been handling allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. The SEC was reportedly looking into allegations made against Activision, asking for documents relating to six women’s personnel files and separation agreements, board meeting minutes since 2019, and other documents relating to the allegations. Continue reading ›

In financial industry, two of the principal agencies tasked with ensuring the U.S. financial markets’ stability and integrity are the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The CFTC ensures that commodity futures and options exchanges have policies that protect investors in the market and ensure fair trading free from fraud and manipulation. CFTC & SEC Whistleblower Programs In 2010, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which established whistleblower programs for the SEC and the CFTC. Whistleblowers that report securities violations to the SEC or CFTC can receive a percentage of any recovery the government collects over $1 million in enforcement actions. Collections can include fines, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and restitution. The percentage of a whistleblower award can be anywhere from 10% to 30% depending on the information and assistance the whistleblower provides, the significance of the information, and whether the award will deter future fraud or violations.In financial industry, two of the principal agencies tasked with ensuring the U.S. financial markets’ stability and integrity are the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The CFTC ensures that commodity futures and options exchanges have policies that protect investors in the market and ensure fair trading free from fraud and manipulation. Continue reading ›

Law.com and Daily Business Review interviewed Scott Silver, Silver Law Group’s managing partner, regarding a $1.8M SEC whistleblower award he helped secure for a client. The client provided crucial information that led the SEC to recover millions of dollars for investors. Scott represented the whistleblower with Boca Raton attorney James Sallah, who was also interviewed for the article. Whistleblower Complaint The whistleblower was a broker at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney when he and other brokers and financial advisors were told about the CitiFX Alpha trading program. Based on his belief that it was a sound investment, because of the false and misleading statements made to him, our client recommended the program to his clients in 2010 and 2011. His clients ended up losing a significant amount of their money, and the whistleblower later found out that the program had not been reviewed or approved by Morgan Stanley and that Citigroup had made false and misleading statements about the program’s risk. Scott Silver told the Daily Business Review (DBR) that “He was very disturbed about what he knew versus what the investors, his clients, the people who had entrusted him with their money, were seeing.”Law.com and Daily Business Review interviewed Scott Silver, Silver Law Group’s managing partner, regarding a $1.8M SEC whistleblower award he helped secure for a client. The client provided crucial information that led the SEC to recover millions of dollars for investors.

Scott represented the whistleblower with Boca Raton attorney James Sallah, who was also interviewed for the article. Continue reading ›

Whistleblower1-300x200Silver Law Group represents a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) whistleblower who was awarded $1.8 million by the SEC for providing information that led to the collection of millions of dollars from two brokerage firms.

The Commission said in a press release that our client, an insider, “provided information that would have been difficult to detect in the absence of the tip and provided extraordinary assistance to SEC staff resulting in the return of money to investors.” Continue reading ›

The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Whistleblower Office has issued an alert to the public regarding how people can make themselves eligible for financial awards and protections while helping to stop violators of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). The CFTC Whistleblower Program will pay 10%-30% of monetary rewards to eligible persons who provide original information about violations, if that information leads to a successful action that results in over $1 million in monetary sanctions. The CFTC Whistleblower program has been successful and millions have been awarded.The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Whistleblower Office has issued an alert to the public regarding how people can make themselves eligible for financial awards and protections while helping to stop violators of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).

The CFTC Whistleblower Program will pay 10%-30% of monetary rewards to eligible persons who provide original information about violations, if that information leads to a successful action that results in over $1 million in monetary sanctions. The CFTC Whistleblower program has been successful and millions have been awarded. Continue reading ›

On August 29, 2019, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) announced an award of over $1.8 million for a whistleblower “whose information and assistance were critically important to the success of an enforcement action involving misconduct committed overseas.” According to a press release from the SEC, the whistleblower alerted the agency to the violations and helped greatly during the investigation. The whistleblower, who was not identified, gave sworn testimony, reviewed documents, and gave ongoing new information that helped move the investigation forward.On August 29, 2019, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) announced an award of over $1.8 million for a whistleblower “whose information and assistance were critically important to the success of an enforcement action involving misconduct committed overseas.”

According to a press release from the SEC, the whistleblower alerted the agency to the violations and helped greatly during the investigation. The whistleblower, who was not identified, gave sworn testimony, reviewed documents, and gave ongoing new information that helped move the investigation forward. Continue reading ›

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