Today, Whistleblower Network News (WNN) has revealed, for the first time, that large “Big Law'' corporate law firms are confidentially or quietly representing SEC whistleblowers in Dodd-Frank reward cases . Firms such as Winston & Strawn and Akin Gump have already obtained whistleblower reward judgments in claims filed against corporate criminals.
A review of 1034 pages of documents released by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) revealed that six law firms that primarily defend large corporations or Wall Street executives during investigations launched by the SEC or Justice Department have obtained over $56 million in rewards on behalf of seven whistleblowers.
“The revelation that the most notorious anti-whistleblower law firms are quietly representing whistleblowers in SEC enforcement cases came as a shock,” said Stephen M. Kohn, a whistleblower attorney at Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto who filed the FOIA request on behalf of WNN and NWC. “The potential for massive conflicts of interest is obvious, as these firms base their practices on defending corporations accused by whistleblowers of engaging in bribery, money laundering, and securities frauds.”
“The SEC did a significant public service by making these disclosures,” said Siri Nelson, the Executive Director of NWC. “Whistleblowers need to know that corporate firms that make millions of dollars by defending corporate criminals are also trying to represent whistleblowers, whose interests may conflict with their major client base. It is extremely troubling that some of these defense firms may have tried to take advantage of Dodd-Frank's confidentiality rules in order to hide their representation of whistleblowers from their corporate clients.” Based on a review of the defense firms' websites, five of the six firms did not mention that they had successfully represented whistleblowers in Dodd-Frank Act cases.
The SEC FOIA documents revealed that at least 64 separate law firms successfully represented whistleblowers, and that over 50 whistleblowers who obtained rewards had represented themselves. “The Dodd-Frank whistleblower law works and works remarkably well. Even the corporate law firms have figured this out. Since the SEC launched the program, over $5 billion has been collected in sanctions, and over $1.3 billion has been returned to harmed investors,” Kohn said.
Read the full story on Whistleblower Network News
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