For the first time in one public forum, the chiefs of the SEC, CFTC and IRS whistleblower offices will discuss Whistleblowing as a tool to fight financial crime at The 10th Annual OffshoreAlert Conference.
Sean McKessy (SEC), Vince Martinez (CFTC), and Steve Whitlock (IRS) are at the forefront of handling information from insiders about possible securities and tax violations by their employers.
"Never before have there been so many opportunities for those at high levels to report fraud and get compensated for the risks they take in doing so," said panel organizer Eric Havian, a California-based attorney who specializes in representing whistleblowers.
"The U.S. has increased its reach in enforcing tax and securities law in the past few years, and whistleblowers will make that reach even wider and more powerful."
The efforts of the U. S. Government to clamp down on overseas tax evasion by U. S. taxpayers, most notably through Swiss banks, have been well-publicized and show no signs of slowing down, said Havian.
He also noted that, in the first seven weeks of the Dodd-Frank whistleblower program (from August 12 to September 30, 2011), the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission received 334 reports of violations, 32 of which came from whistleblowers outside the U. S., including ten from China and nine from the United Kingdom. Most complaints were about alleged market manipulation, corporate disclosures and financial statements, and offering fraud, according to the SEC. "This means that the SEC is likely to get several hundred tips annually from outside of the U.S. about corrupt and fraudulent business operations," said Havian, who is a partner with Phillips & Cohen law firm.
He added: "It's been gratifying to see the whistleblower offices at the IRS, SEC and CFTC all recognize the value of whistleblowers and the importance of providing substantial rewards to attract highly placed insiders. All three agencies have made clear that the goal with their whistleblower programs is not just to get more tips, but rather more high-quality tips from insiders who can provide information that the agencies otherwise wouldn’t uncover and can follow up with quickly."
The Whistleblowing panel featuring the SEC, CFTC, and IRS Whistleblowing chiefs forms part of The 10th Annual OffshoreAlert Conference, which will take place at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida on April 29 to May 1, 2012.