SEC Office of the Whistleblower Files Annual Report to Congress on Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program

Last week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower, created in 2011 pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, released its mandated report to Congress on operations for Fiscal Year 2014, ending on September 30, 2014.  A number of interesting facts, statistics and developments were reported.  Here is a selection of particularly relevant highlights:

  • FY 2014 was the most active year yet in terms of whistleblower awards. The SEC has made awards to 14 whistleblowers since inception of the program, including 9 in 2014 alone.
  • “To date, over 40% of the individuals who received awards were current or former employees;” another 20% were company consultants or contractors, or had been solicited to act as consultants.
  • According to the SEC, over 80% of those receiving awards reportedly raised their concerns internally to supervisors or compliance professionals before going to the SEC, which means nearly 20% are still skipping internal whistleblower reporting policies and systems.
  • “Several of the cases in which a whistleblower received an award concerned firms involved in the financial services industry, with some involving broker-dealers.”  Alleged wrongdoing included on-going Ponzi schemes, false or misleading statements in offering memoranda or marketing materials, and false pricing information.
  • On September 22, 2014, the SEC authorized payment of its largest whistleblower award to date — over $30 million.  This was the fourth overseas whistleblower to receive an award, highlighting that whistleblowers around the world are eligible for awards and the importance for employers of implementing whistleblower and compliance policies globally.
  • On August 29, 2014, the SEC authorized its first award to a compliance or audit professional – over $300,000 to an auditor who blew the whistle internally and waited 120 days before reporting to the SEC, during which time the company had taken no action on the allegations.  The auditor therefore satisfied one of the exceptions to exclusion from eligibility for awards for compliance and audit professionals.
  • On July 31, 2014, the SEC issued an award of over $400,000 to an independent agent of an insurance company, who had “aggressively worked internally to bring the securities law violation to the attention of appropriate personnel in an effort to obtain corrective action” regarding misleading descriptions of financial products.  Although the SEC did not disclose the name of the whistleblower or the company, the whistleblower himself went to the press after receiving the award, identifying himself as well as his employer in telling his story.
  • On June 16, 2014, the SEC exercised its own anti-retaliation enforcement authority for the first time, charging a hedge fund advisory firm with retaliating against its head trader for reporting prohibited principal transactions to the SEC.  The alleged retaliatory acts included removing the whistleblower from his position and making him a compliance assistant, stripping him of supervisory responsibility, and making him investigate the very wrongdoing he reported to the SEC without any meaningful resources to do so.  The firm and its owner paid $2.2 million to settle the charges – with full disclosure by the SEC of, and publicity regarding, the identity of the firm and its owner.

The full report is available on the SEC’s Office of Whistleblower website – click here.

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American Hospital Association Features EBG’s “Eye on Ebola” Webinar

Epstein Becker Green’s slides from the “Eye on Ebola: A Discussion About the Health Regulatory, Risk Management, and Labor and Employment Issues Impacting Health Care Providers” webinar is featured on the American Hospital Association’s Ebola Preparedness Resourcesclick here.

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HOWARD P. SPEICHER CONFIRMED FOR LAND COURT JUDGESHIP

Howard P. Speicher has been appointed as a judge in the Land Court. The Governor’s Council unanimously approved Mr. Speicher’s appointment on November 12. Mr. Speicher will fill the vacancy created by the upcoming retirement of Judge Harry M. Grossman.

“It has been an honor and privilege to practice with Howard for over 30 years, and we wish him all the best,” said C. Michael Malm, a founding partner of Davis Malm. “His litigation skills and dedication to the community will serve him well as a judge. While we will surely miss him and the many contributions he makes to our firm and our clients, we are proud of his accomplishments and have no doubt that he will serve the Land Court bench with distinction.”

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Lidings handling the largest individual bankruptcy case in European history

In 2006-2007, when Ireland’s richest man, Seán Quinn, came to Russia to lay the cornerstones at the construction sites of massive commercial real estate properties in a number of Russian regions, no one could have imagined that in three short years, these same properties would have been virtually stripped away from him – or that the management companies in charge of them would be on the verge of bankruptcy. 

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Heather Hettiarachchi to speak at CLE Human Rights Conference

This morning at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver, Heather Hettiarachchi will be speaking at the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC’s Human Rights Conference, which is a forum that brings together all those who have an interest in human rights issues, including human resource professionals and employment, labour, and human rights lawyers. Heather will be presenting in relation to the aging workforce in Canada.

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ILN Today Post

HOWARD P. SPEICHER CONFIRMED FOR LAND COURT JUDGESHIP

Boston, MA, November 20, 2014 — The Boston law firm of Davis, Malm & D’Agostine, P.C. is pleased to announce that Howard P. Speicher has been appointed as a judge in the Land Court.  The Governor’s Council unanimously approved Mr. Speicher’s appointment on November 12. Mr. Speicher will fill the vacancy created by the upcoming retirement of Judge Harry M. Grossman.

“It has been an honor and privilege to practice with Howard for over 30 years, and we wish him all the best,” said C. Michael Malm, a founding partner of Davis Malm. “His litigation skills and dedication to the community will serve him well as a judge. While we will surely miss him and the many contributions he makes to our firm and our clients, we are proud of his accomplishments and have no doubt that he will serve the Land Court bench with distinction.” More…

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ILN Today Post

Digital Media, Technology & Privacy Alert >> Mobile Shopping Apps Do Not Provide Sufficient Disclosures to Consumers, FTC Staff Report Finds

A staff report issued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2014 found that many “mobile shopping” apps do not provide consumers with important information prior to download (such as how the apps manage payment-related disputes or handle consumer data). As such, the report contains a number of recommendations to companies that offer these apps to improve transparency at point-of-download and beyond. More…

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ILN Today Post

Digital Media, Technology & Privacy Alert >> California Amends Data Breach Notification Rules, Which “May” Include Free Credit Monitoring

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has now signed into law a bill that amends the state’s data breach rules – including a provision that references the provision of free credit monitoring, though the law does not appear to make these services mandatory.

Background
In 2003, California became the first state in the United States to enact a security breach notification law, requiring businesses that own or license personal information of California residents to notify people of unauthorized access to their unencrypted information. More…

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Miller Samuel Movember Update – Week 3

Week 3

We’re now on the home straight. During the past week all 5 participants have had strange looks and various comments of a derogatory nature. Ryan is still sticking safe with the goatee look, but the four others have stuck to the 70s look as far as possible. One week left to match the efforts of Tom Selleck and Graeme Souness at his prime…

Of course, this is all for a good cause. Please donate what you can to Cancer Research by clicking on this link. Your donations are greatly appreciated.

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"CMS Chronic Care Management Medicare Reimbursement: Sizeable Revenue, Health Outcome Opportunities," Hindmad quoted in HIN

Beginning January 2015, Medicare will pay a flat, monthly chronic care management (CCM) fee to providers coordinating care for beneficiaries with more than one chronic condition. This change will expand the current Medicare payment policy to include non face-to-face management services previously included within payments for evaluation and management (EM) services, amount to about $40 a beneficiary, a sizeable new source of revenue for eligible providers.

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