Category Archives: General Whistleblower Issues

What is Antitrust Law? A Question for Whistleblower Attorneys

The core antitrust laws, the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act, were passed to combat the trusts or monopolies that dominated America’s free market economy in the late 1800s. For over a century, these antitrust laws have had the same basic objective: to protect the process of competition for the benefit of consumers, making sure there are strong incentives for businesses to operate efficiently, keep prices down, and keep quality high.

The Sherman Antitrust Act

The Sherman Antitrust Act was passed in 1890 and outlaws “every contract, combina¬tion, or conspiracy in restraint of trade,” and any “monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize.” The Sherman Act was the first Federal statute to limit cartels and monopolies, and today still forms the basis for most antitrust litigation brought by the federal government.

Violations of the Sherman Act include the following:

  • Restraint of Trade: Acts or combinations that tend, or are designed, to eliminate or stifle competition, create a monopoly, artificially maintain prices, or otherwise hamper or obstruct the course of trade as it would be carried on if it were left to the control of natural economic forces. The Sherman Act does not prohibit every restraint of trade, only those that are deemed unreasonable.
  • Price Fixing: The agreement to inhibit price competition by raising, depressing, fixing, or stabilizing prices.
  • Market Allocation Schemes: Situations where competitors agree to not compete with each other in specific markets, by dividing up geographic areas, types of products, or types of customers.
  • Boycotts: Boycotts may be anticompetitive and may violate the Sherman Act when they result in the elimination of competition or the reduction in the number of participants entering the market to compete with existing participants.
  • Tying Arrangements: When a seller conditions the sale of one product on the purchase of another product.
  • Monopolies: A monopoly is a form of market structure where only one or very few companies dominate the total sales of a particular product or service.

Antitrust Law Penalties for violating the Sherman Act can range from civil to criminal penalties. An individual violating these antitrust laws may be jailed for up to three years and fined up to $350,000 per violation, while corporations may be fined up to $10 million per violation.

The Clayton Act

The Clayton Act was passed in 1914 to reinforce the Sherman Act, and among other things, aims to prevent unlawful monopolies by requiring corporations to notify federal agencies of impending mergers and acquisition. The Clayton Act also prohibits anticompetitive conduct such as:

  • Exclusive Dealings: Deals which require a buyer or seller to buy or sell all or most of a certain product from a single supplier such that competitors are unable to compete in the market.
  • Price Discrimination: Selling similar goods to buyers at different prices.
  • Tying & Bundling: selling a product or service on the condition that the buyer agrees to also buy a different product or service.

Both the U.S. Justice Departments Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission enforce the Clayton Act. Under the Clayton Act, however, private parties may bring civil lawsuits against businesses that have violated competition laws. Awards in such lawsuits may include treble damages, as well as attorneys’ fees.

Whistleblower and Antitrust Attorneys

If you have evidence that a business has violated the Sherman Act or Clayton Act, our experienced and aggressive antitrust lawyers want to work with you to restore fairness to the marketplace. For a free and confidential evaluation of your antitrust lawsuit, please fill out our Free Consultation Form Online or call Toll Free at 1-888-252-0048.

How To Get A Whistleblower Reward And Keep Your Job

You may be able to earn a whistleblower reward and keep your job under whistleblower protection laws.

Did you know, that because someone blew the whistle on defense contractors, medical facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and a long list of other so-called honest companies, the Department of Justice has been able to recover from these companies more than $8.5 billion dollars.

In one case, a trial court awarded three relators (whistleblowers) $52,049,126 for their efforts in bringing a successful False Claims Case.

How To Get A Whistleblower Reward

IRS Whistleblower Rewards

Whistleblower's Prevent Tax Fraud

Whistleblower’s Prevent Tax Fraud

The requirements for whistleblower rewards are slightly different depending on which whistleblower act your claim falls under. For example, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may pay awards to whistleblowers who provide specific and credible information to the IRS if the information results in the collection of taxes, penalties, interest or other amounts from the noncompliant taxpayer.

The IRS is looking for solid information, not an “educated guess” or unsupported speculation. The IRS is also looking for a significant Federal tax issue – this is not a program for resolving personal problems or disputes about a business relationship.

SEC Whistleblower Rewards

Whistleblowers Stop Securities Fraud

Whistleblowers Stop Securities Fraud

The SEC Whistleblower Law is significant because SEC whistleblowers are given an incentive to report corporate fraud and securities fraud. Specifically, an SEC whistleblower can earn substantial whistleblower rewards if he or she voluntarily provides information to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) leading to the successful prosecution of securities law violations. These securities law violations can include typical Securities Act violations (Securities Act of 1933), Securities Exchange Act violations (Securities Exchange Act of 1934), and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violatoins (FCPA). Such violations must result in monetary sanctions greater than $1 million in order for the SEC whistleblower or FCPA whistleblower to receive between 10 and 40 percent of the total recovery.

The 10% whistleblower award may seem like a minimal amount; however, the whistleblower recoveries are often very large. Moreover, depending on the value of the original information or independent analysis provided, the whistleblower may qualify for 40% as a cash whistleblower reward. The amount of the cash reward a whistleblower can earn is generally at the discretion of the SEC.

Other Whistleblower Rewards

IRS whistleblower cases, SEC whistleblower cases, and FCPA whistleblower cases are not the only types of whistleblower cases that receive cash rewards. Another popular whistleblower law is the False Claims Act, which provides whistleblowers with the opportunity to bring their own qui tam whistleblower lawsuit as a private action on behalf of a Government agency. Whistleblower claims under this act often provide for recovery of attoreys’ fees as well as substantial rewards for the relator (whistleblower).

Whistleblower Protection Laws

Presently, there are many whistleblower laws protecting the rights of individuals that blow the whistle on wrongful conduct. Government regulatory bodies, including the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the Internal Revenue Service, actually rely on information from whistleblowers to enforce compliance with laws and regulations. For example, the SEC whistleblower program, FCPA whistleblower program, FCA whistleblower program, and other whistleblower programs provide that a whistleblower can preserve his or her anonymity by filing their whistleblower claim using an experienced SEC whistleblower lawyer. What this practically means is that up until a whistleblower reward is being offered, the whistleblower’s name will not even be disclosed to the SEC. This system helps protect the whistleblower from retaliation by the employer.

If you have questions about the whistleblower protections that may be available to you, please contact our experienced whistleblower attorneys to confidentially discuss your claim in further detail.

Important Points About Whistleblower Rewards

At this point it is critical to emphasize two important points:

  1. Must Be First Whistleblower To File: SEC whistleblower rewards, IRS whistleblower rewards, FCPA whistleblower rewards, FCA whistleblower rewards, and other types of whistleblower rewards are generally only awarded to the first whistleblower to file. If the whistleblower files after the Government agency is investigating the matter, only in rare circumstances does the Government award a whistleblower reward to the individuals. Generally, this happens if the whistleblower provides significant contributions in the form of further original information that add substantial value to the investigation.
  2. Our experienced whistleblower attorneys can help whistleblowers obtain cash rewards and assist in the speed of filing and the quality of the filing itself. A valid whistleblower claim may get denied or rejected if the information is not prepared in an appropriate format that emphasizes the significance of the whistleblower’s original information.

The whistleblower attorneys at the Whistleblower Law Firm of Gilman Law LLP hope this information has been helpful in answering your whistleblower questions concerning whistleblower rewards and whistleblower protections. As always, if you have any questions regarding filing a whistleblower claim, or feel that you may need our assistance, please do not hesitate to speak with one of our whistleblower lawyers for a free consultation by calling toll free at (888) 252-0048.

Gilman Law LLP Launches New Whistleblower Website

About Gilman Law LLP

How To Be A Whistleblower

How To Be A Whistleblower

Gilman Law LLP, a leading national law firm with over 40 years of experience representing consumers, employees, and professionals, has launched a new whistleblower web site. With this web site, Gilman Law LLP seeks to help potential whistleblowers who feel they have witnessed corporate fraud, securities fraud, false claims to the Government, corrupt practices, or other wrongful conduct, by providing valuable information about the protections available to whistleblowers, as well as the process of how to blow the whistle. Whistleblowers play an important role in protecting taxpayer funds from fraud and abuse.

How to Blow the Whistle

If you feel you have witnessed fraud, false claims, or other wrongful conduct, you are encouraged to contact our firm to discuss how you may stop this conduct as well as earn a reward and protect your job in the process. All information submitted to our firm will remain in strict confidence. Please use the contact form to the left of the site to submit your whistleblower information, or call us toll free 24 hours a day at (888) 252-0048.