According to a recent AP report, a collective group of FBI agents based out of Miami are cracking down on international money laundering cases domestically and in South America. Recent bribery allegations show that the continent is flooded with major international corruption.
The goal of the FBI unit is two-fold. Identify and prosecute violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), a U.S. law that makes it illegal to bribe foreign officials. Second, outreach to large companies in different sectors to teach them about the red flags that could indicate corruption.
Leslie Backschies, the chief of the FBI’s international corruption unit points out that this issue becomes a “threat to national security” because the bribes people offer can possibly funnel into funding terrorism. Backschies states that large amounts of money are being flowed into and out of Miami as well. It has become a hotbed for individuals to hide their money using real estate, shell companies, and through boating.
These outreach programs to various companies may encourage individual employees to want to step forward and report the fraudulent activity to the FBI. However, the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) cautions would be whistleblowers from reporting directly to law enforcement without first speaking to a whistleblower lawyer to learn their rights and what whistleblower protections they have.
The Dodd-Frank Act permits whistleblowers, including foreign nationals, to apply for monetary rewards from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for providing information about foreign bribery that leads to the successful enforcement of the FCPA. Under these provisions the whistleblowers can remain anonymous.
Strong U.S. whistleblower laws and protection aide the exposure of international money laundering and foreign bribery. Confidential, anonymous reporting, financial rewards, and protection against retaliation are key to successful whistleblower programs, noted Stephen M. Kohn, the executive director of the NWC. The SEC and other U.S. agencies run independent whistleblower offices. They work to protect insider anonymity and prohibit retaliation.
International money laundering and foreign bribery whistleblowers are encouraged to contact the National Whistleblower Center to learn your rights before blowing the whistle.