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financial 8 articles

SEC Fines Health Insurer For Barring Former Employees From Seeking Whistleblower Awards

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A California-based health insurance provider has agreed to pay a $340,000 penalty for illegally coercing its employees into remaining mute about company practices that did not comply with federal code. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said last week that Health Net Inc. violated federal securities laws by stripping employees of their rights to act as whistleblowers and seek whistleblower awards as a condition to receiving severance payments and other post-employment benefits. Health Net added the unlawful provision in August 2011 after the SEC adopted a rule prohibiting employers from taking any action to impede someone from communicating with ... Read More

SEC Fines Atlanta Company For Making Employees Waive Whistleblower Rights

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An Atlanta-based building products distributor has agreed to pay a $265,000 penalty to settle charges that it violated securities laws by using severance agreements requiring outgoing employees to waive their rights to a monetary recovery should they file a charge or complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or another federal agency. According to the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, BlueLinx Holdings Inc. added the monetary recovery prohibition to all of its severance agreements in mid-2013, nearly two years after the SEC’s adoption of Rule 21F-17, which prohibits companies from trying to gag potential whistleblowers. The Agency is cracking ... Read More

Whistleblower Tips Continued To Rise In 2015, SEC Reports

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of the Whistleblower this week released its annual report for 2015, showing that the agency received 4,000 tips this year — marking a 30 percent increase in whistleblower activity since 2012. Since August 2011, when the SEC’s whistleblower program went into effect, the agency has awarded 22 whistleblowers more than $54 million. According to the SEC’s report, whistleblowers shared awards totaling more than $37 million in 2015 alone – nearly 70 percent of the total awards since the program started. The SEC’s whistleblower program awards whistleblowers a percentage of any monetary sanction ... Read More

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

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The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) of 2010 introduced the most sweeping financial regulatory reforms made by legislators since the Great Depression. Signed into federal law by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010, Dodd-Frank’s comprehensive measures were designed, in part, to clean up loopholes and improve the oversight and transparency of financial institutions. The intention: to avert another giant recession like the one that hit the U.S. in 2007-2010. The stated purpose of Dodd-Frank is “To promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end ‘too ... Read More

NY AG proposes financial industry whistleblower law

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New York’s Attorney General proposed a bill Thursday that would protect and reward big bounties to whistleblowers who report fraud and other misconduct in the banking, insurance, and financial service industries. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said New York “has a unique opportunity to set the gold standard for states seeking to expose and hold individuals accountable for financial crimes.” Currently the state has no program or laws to protect or incentivize whistleblowers in the financial sector. The proposed Financial Frauds Whistleblower Act would open the door to big whistleblower rewards with the intent of encouraging those who witness securities fraud ... Read More

UNC-Chapel Hill whistleblower says academic fraud scheme kept many athletes enrolled

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A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill whistleblower told school officials Tuesday that many students, most of them athletes, were taking classes that actually never occurred. Mary Willingham, an instructor and advisor, has become a key figure amid ongoing accusations and investigations of academic fraud at the school. Ms. Willingham told UNC’s Faculty Athletics Committee the school was aware of a long-running scam to help some students meet the university’s academic requirements and remain eligible. She was one of the first people to speak out against the alleged practice, which occurred within the African and Afro-American Studies program. An ... Read More

Sudden acceleration, other woes spell long recovery for Toyota

Toyota has fallen, but it might take years for it to get back up. According to Forbes, the Japanese auto giant’s share of the U.S. market has slid from 17 percent for all of 2009 to 11.5 percent in September. Making matters worse for the company is the fact that its sales were eclipsed last month by Chrysler Group LLC, an automaker that almost ceased to exist a couple of years ago and one which historically has always trailed far behind Toyota. Just four years ago, Toyota usurped General Motors as the world’s leading automaker, so what happened? Most analysts ... Read More

One year after BP oil spill, many Gulf Coast businesses on brink of collapse

One year ago today BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig was consumed by flames, its weakening frame on the verge of collapsing into the sea it fed upon. Today, that image provides a fitting metaphor for thousands of small businesses in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle that continue to struggle with severe declines in revenues ever since BP’s massive oil slick overtook this part of the Gulf. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, many small business owners in the tourism and seafood industry fear the year-old oil spill will put them out of business soon if visitors ... Read More