Case Studies

The National Whistleblower Center has taken a look at several high profile cases in industries with a high risk of fraud in order to highlight the type of fraudulent activities that can occur.

Fraudulent Oil and Gas Reserve Reporting

The Shell reserves scandal shows that even the world’s oldest and largest oil and gas companies are not immune to the temptation to overstate their reserves.

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Fraudulent Accounting for the Costs of Climate Change

The first climate-change related securities class action against a major oil and gas company, Ramirez v. ExxonMobil Corporation, highlights how whistleblowers can identify potential securities fraud related to climate risks and oil and gas reserves.

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Fraudulent Coal Asset Valuations

Rio Tinto’s Mozambique coal scandal shows how executives under pressure could be tempted to commit fraud – and how internal whistleblowers can reveal the truth.

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Financial Fraud in the Coal Industry

Lenders have accused Murray Energy of fraudulent transfer and breach of fiduciary duty, as well as manipulating financial information to avoid violating a bankruptcy financing agreement.

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Fraudulent Oil and Gas Royalties

Using the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act, a group of whistleblowers revealed a nationwide conspiracy by more than a dozen oil and gas companies to systematically defraud the government by underpaying leasing royalties.

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Fraudulent Statements in Obtaining a Lease

Making false statements to obtain a permit, lease, or loan like BP did for the Deepwater Horizon rig falls under a powerful whistleblower provision, known as the reverse False Claims Act.

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Fraudulent Investor Risk Statements

An investigation into the nation’s largest coal company revealed that it had knowingly not disclosed the full financial risks associated with new environmental regulations to shareholders over a period of several years.

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Understating Environmental Liabilities

A historic case against Kerr-McGee highlights the potential for a company to understate liabilities to spin them off and how such a scheme can lead to a multibillion-dollar liability.

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Bribery in the Oil and Gas Industry

An investigation into widespread corruption in the oil and gas industry revealed a scheme by six oil and gas companies to use a third party to pay and conceal bribes to foreign officials.

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Bid-Rigging in the Oil and Gas Industry

The U.S. government’s first prosecution for mineral-rights leases concerned the collaboration on bids between competing oil and gas companies in Western Colorado.

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Fraudulent Oil and Gas Price Manipulation

Oil & gas prices impact nearly every level of our economy, from financial investors to companies producing petroleum products to consumers paying for gas. Fixing prices in commodities markets as was allegedly done in one recent case can harm traders, investors and consumers.

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Fraudulent Environmental Liability Estimates

A landmark investigation into Occidental Petroleum’s environmental disclosures revealed that major incidents of environmental damage can also help regulators identify equally significant financial fraud in liability disclosures.

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Fraudulent Clean Coal Technologies

From 2001 to 2011, several Minnesota businessmen solicited major investments in a clean coal machine that they knew didn’t work, committing securities fraud in the process.

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Misleading Investors About Sustainable Timber Harvesting

A securities class action lawsuit alleged that timber company Rayonier violated federal securities laws by concealing systemic over-harvesting in Washington state.

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Fraudulent Labelling of Timber Sources

In a landmark case, U.S.-based Lumber Liquidators was fined $13 million under the Lacey Act for illegally importing hardwood flooring from the Russian Far East.

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Fraudulent Use of Trans-Shipment Points to Conceal Timber Origins

A recent NGO report alleges that protected timber illegally harvested by Chinese company dodged U.S. conservation laws via numerous middlemen.

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