The new financial reform law has what some lawyers call a secret weapon against fraud on Wall Street and in corporate America: the promise of a million-dollar jackpot to insiders who reveal an illegal scheme to the government.
Tucked in the massive bill is a provision that for the first time extends a concept long applied to government contracts to the private sector. It gives whistle-blowers a mandatory 10% — and as much as 30% — of what the government recoups in fines and settlements in financial fraud cases. These can include insider trading, false earnings reports and classic Ponzi schemes.
To claim a bounty, the whistle-blower must provide the Securities and Exchange Commission with “original information” that reveals the fraud and leads to a successful recovery.