Congress enacted the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in 1977 as a means to reduce bribery of foreign officials by U.S. companies. The FCPA prohibits individuals or companies from paying bribes to foreign officials for assistance in obtaining or retaining business. The Act also specifies certain accounting provisions that mandate businesses maintain accurate records of transactions and implement a system of internal accounting controls.
Common internal control violations are falsifying documents to conceal bribery payments, characterizing bribes as normal business expenses, and inappropriate hiring practices, such as hiring based solely on referrals by client executives and government officials.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are the agencies that enforce the FCPA, and they have been aggressively pursuing foreign bribery cases and imposing substantial fines for violations.
The SEC has a whistleblower program that provides monetary awards for whistleblowers that voluntarily provide the SEC with information about violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
SEC Whistleblower Program
Whistleblowers are important in helping the SEC and DOJ identify potential FCPA violations. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 both contain provisions related to whistleblowers. Sarbanes-Oxley provides whistleblowers protection and prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers, and the Dodd-Frank Act authorizes the SEC to provide monetary awards to eligible whistleblowers.
Whistleblowers who come forward with information about violations of the FCPA that leads to enforcement action may be eligible for monetary awards. If the information provided by the whistleblower results in a successful enforcement action in which the SEC collects monetary sanctions over $1 million, the whistleblower may receive between 10% and 30% of the monetary sanctions.
Whistleblowers should contact an attorney to help them through the process and make sure they are protected.
Bribery and Corruption in Certain Industries
Reports indicate that certain industries are more susceptible to bribery and corruption than others are. The top industries with open FCPA investigations last year were:
- Oil and Gas
Construction and manufacturing have also been among the sectors with high levels of corruption risk. As the SEC and DOJ step up enforcement efforts, there will likely be continued focus on these sectors and individuals with ties to these industries should be on the lookout for corrupt behavior or practices.
With over 30 years of experience, the attorneys on Baron & Budd’s whistleblower representation team have represented dozens of clients in government fraud cases returning over $5.4 billion to federal and state agencies, with whistleblower recovery shares as high as 49%. They are ready to help if you have evidence of an FCPA violation.
Please call (866) 401-5971 or complete our contact form if you would like more information. For more information, see What You Need to Know About Becoming a Whistleblower. Please understand that contacting us does not mean that you have established an attorney-client relationship with Baron & Budd, P.C.