Whistleblowers ponder FBI vs. SEC


Let's say you've got the goods on your company. You know, and more importantly can prove, that your company is engaged in fraud. You've raised the issue with your boss and have been told not to worry about it. What do you do?

These days, especially in the wake of Dodd-Frank, your services will be in heavy demand by prosecutors. Dodd-Frank set up some very enticing rewards for whistleblowers, which have been the subject of much controversy in the industry as of late. The SEC's Office of the Whistleblower is up and running. There are a host of other whistleblower programs as well.

Would-be whistleblowers were likely encouraged by the saga of Sherry Hunt, now a vice president of quality assurance at Citigroup, who will receive $31 million for her role in turning in Citigroup for falsely declaring massive volumes of mortgages to be qualified for sale to GSEs. She's set for life and she's still employed.

But not all whistleblowers will reap such big rewards. The Washington Post notes that the FBI does not have a formal program to pay whistleblowers, though it's possible informants could get paid. The Dodd-Frank whistleblower program by contrast allows for big rewards, up to 30 percent of the funds recovered if a tip leads to an enforcement action.

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