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Jane Norberg Steps Down After Landmark Run As SEC Whistleblower Chief

Posted  04/16/21
Securities and Exchange Commission Decisions and Reports Book Volumes
Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC's Office of the Whistleblower, will step down this month after five groundbreaking years.  Norberg played a pivotal role in shaping the SEC Whistleblower Program into a model for how empowering whistleblowers can revolutionize government enforcement.  Her tenure brought record payouts to whistleblowers, a streamlined award process, and a firm stand against any attacks on the public’s...

As SEC Whistleblower Chief Norberg Moves On, the Agency Reinforces Its Warm Embrace of Whistleblowers

Posted  04/16/21
silver whistle with Securities Exchange Commission logo
With the SEC's recent announcement that Jane Norberg will be stepping down this month as the head of the SEC Whistleblower Office, the agency is losing one of its greatest whistleblower champions.  As the agency so prominently reported, the Whistleblower Program under Norberg's tenure made roughly $650 million in whistleblower awards and reached a host of other milestones.  This included nine of the Top-10 awards in...

Catch of the Week: Fraud Behind the Silver Screen

Posted  04/9/21
Canisters of movie film rolled out
This week the SEC announced that it obtained an emergency asset freeze in an enforcement action against L.A.-based actor Zachary Horwitz and his company 1nMM Capital, LLC for allegedly running a $690 million Ponzi scheme.  In its complaint, the SEC claimed Horowitz’s recent actions threatened to dissipate the remaining investor funds in his possession. While this story is still technically “mid-catch,” the...

Why FinCEN Should Quickly Establish Regulations for the New AML Whistleblower Program

Posted  04/9/21
Whistle on Wood
The nascent AML whistleblower program promises to boost enforcement in a difficult area, but FinCEN must swiftly develop regulations to ensure that it launches the program in the most robust way possible. Created by the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AMLA), passed as part of the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the program went into immediate effect.  Motivated by retaliation protections and the...

Watch Now: Eric Havian Joins OffshoreAlert Panel with SEC, CFTC, and IRS Whistleblower Officials on Rewards for Domestic and Foreign Whistleblowers

Posted  04/2/21

For the third year in a row, Constantine Cannon partner Eric Havian participated in OffshoreAlert’s annual conference, vGlobal, speaking on a panel with senior leaders of the whistleblower programs at the SEC, CFTC, and IRS.  The panel, which you can watch below, “Rewarding Domestic & Foreign Whistleblowers: The Growth & Spreading Reach of U.S. Programs,” addressed the international reach of the U.S....

As COVID-19 Stimulus Funds Flow, DOJ Puts Fraudsters on Notice and Calls Whistleblowers “Essential”

Posted  04/2/21
On March 11th, President Biden signed The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), a sweeping economic stimulus plan that will pump $1.9 trillion into the US economy. In addition to direct relief to Americans, ARPA includes record-setting government spending in numerous areas to speed recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing recession. As we have previously written,...

CFTC Clobbers Cryptocurrency Con Man

Posted  04/1/21
cryptocurrency scam
Last week, the CFTC announced that a federal court entered a nearly $600 million default judgment against a British man who used bitcoin to defraud more than 1,000 people worldwide.  The judgment is yet another indication that the CFTC will vigorously police cryptocurrency fraud.

The Scam

The CFTC filed a complaint against Benjamin Reynolds and his bitcoin trading and investment company, Control-Finance, back in...

March Madness: AstraZeneca Fudges the Clinical Trial Results for Its COVID-19 Vaccine

Posted  03/26/21
basketball hoop in basketball court
In case you haven’t been following the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (or even if you have), you might be surprised to learn that the University of Hartford is poised to win it all this year—except for the fact that it lost in the first round of the tournament to Baylor University, 79-55, and has been eliminated from the competition. Likewise, in case you haven’t been following the results of COVID-19...

Catch of the Week: Founders of Poop-Testing Startup uBiome Face Fraud Charges

Posted  03/24/21
specimen jar
San Francisco-based uBiome and its founders Jessica Richman and Zachary Apte claimed they were “inventing the microbiome industry” and “making products that improve people’s lives.” Once considered a Silicon Valley success story, today, uBiome is bankrupt and its founders face various federal securities fraud and related criminal conspiracy charges. The biotech startup sold home medical tests including...

COVID Frauds of the Week: DOJ Continues to Crack Down on PPP Fraudsters

Posted  03/19/21
ponzi scheme vs pyramid scheme
As of this week, the Small Business Administration has disbursed over $700 billion in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to small businesses and non-profits. There are over $100 billion in remaining appropriations, with additional appropriations likely to follow thereafter. With numbers like these, the program has become a magnet for fraudsters seeking to profit from the pandemic. The DOJ has been actively going...
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