Since whistleblowing has been in the new of late, I thought I would introduce you of some whistleblower cases you may not have heard of. There have been many people down through the years that have exposed federal and corporate greed, fraud and corruption. Their courage has led to changes in the laws to protect the taxpayer, consumer and the whistleblower themselves. These are their stories.
Famous Whistleblower Cases
Whistleblowing does not occur in one specific industry or area. Anywhere that fraud, corruption or abuse is prone to take place, the need for accountability increases. This is especially true in companies or agencies with tremendous power. No one is above reproach and the need for transparency.
W. Mark Felt
Perhaps the most famous of all whistleblowers, Felt revealed himself to be the mysterious “Deep Throat” in 2005; just three years before his death. No other whistleblower has been instrumental in the resignation of a US President. Felt gave information to then Washington Post Reporter, Bob Woodward, which eventually led to the resignation of Richard Nixon as President.
This example of a whistleblowing case is in a totally different area than Presidential politics. In fact, Cooper is what is termed a corporate whistleblower, since her discovery was not directly tied to a state or federal government. As the VP of the Internal Audit as WorldCom she uncovered what was at the time the largest corporate fraud in U.S. History.
Whistleblowing Cases of 2012
It seems that the more press whistleblowing receives, the more people are coming forward to reveal fraud and corruption at both the corporate and federal levels. 2012 was certainly no small year for whistleblowers. In fact, the top ten whistleblower cases of 2012 brought in settlements in excess of $7.5 billion dollars. That is more than the entire election cycle cost in the same year!
Among these cases were notable names such as:
- Bank of America – $1 billion for mortgage and bank fraud
- Senior Care Action Network – “$323 million related to reporting fraud I related to California Medicare and HMO.
- Deutsche Bank – Charged $202 million due to false certification of HUD/FHA loans.
These are just three of the hundreds of whistleblowing cases each year, but should give you an idea of the scope of the problem.
Of course, who can forget the Bernard Madoff scandal? Though Madoff turned himself in on December 11th, 2000; and independent financial fraud analyst had already been alerting the SEC to what he new to be fraudulent returns.
A Look Ahead
It is nearly certain that as the information technology gets more advanced we can look to see more whistleblowing cases in the future. Secrets are getting harder to cover up, and employees are getting bolder in their willingness to report wrongdoing. We can only hope that the lessons of the past will help us to avoid the massive amounts of federal and corporate fraud that we have seen thus far. One thing is certain: whistleblowers are a big part of that solution.