Whistleblower Litigation

Definitions

Action: An action is any legal proceeding which is brought to court to resolve a dispute, obtain compensation, or enforce a right.

CFTC: The CFTC is the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. It is an independent agency that was created by the U.S. Government in 1974 to monitor and regulate the trading of commodities futures. The CFTC also protects participants in the commodities market from fraud, manipulation and abusive trading practices.

Complaint: A complaint, also known as a lawsuit, is the legal document filed to initiate a case against a defendant.

Dodd-Frank Act: Dodd-Frank is the common shorthand for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Dodd-Frank Act was passed by congress in response to the financial recession of the late 2000’s. The purpose of the act is to increase accountability and transparency in the American financial system. In addition to a number of regulations on the financial industry, the Dodd-Frank Act contains the “whistleblower bounty program” known as qui tam, which provides monetary incentives to individuals or organizations who come forward with original information that leads to an enforcement action by the SEC.

False Claims Act: The False Claims Act was passed by congress in 1863 in order to crack down on fraud committed against the Union during the Civil War. It was created to impose liability on anyone, usually federal contractors, who attempt to defraud government programs. One notable provision of the False Claims Act is the “qui tam” provision, which allows a person not affiliated with the government to file a suit on behalf of the government in exchange for a reward. The False Claims Act also protects whistleblowers from retaliation by their employers.

Fraud: Fraud is the action of using deliberately dishonest or unethical means to obtain money or other benefits.

Litigation: Litigation is the act or process of bringing or contesting a lawsuit.

Qui Tam: A qui tam action is a legal action which authorizes any person, including individual citizens, associations, and even businesses to bring a suit on behalf of the government and themselves. In whistleblower litigation under the False Claims Act qui tam provides an incentive to anyone bringing forward information about fraud committed against the government. It is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur,” meaning, “He who sues for the King, as well for himself.”

Relator: A relator is a legal term that refers to any person or organization who brings a public lawsuit on behalf of the government. The relator is also known as a “whistleblower.”

SEC: The SEC is the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC was established in 1934 to regulate the securities industry and the nation’s stock and options exchanges.

Under Seal: This refers to the confidentiality required for whistleblower cases. When a case is filed, it is sealed by the court and kept confidential while the government investigates the charges and decides whether or not to intervene in the case.

Whistleblower: The term whistleblower comes from the old English police practice of blowing a whistle when witnessing a crime in progress. In modern legal proceedings a whistleblower is a person who discloses non-public information, usually about a company that is committing fraud or some other harmful practice.