Whistleblowing is when a company’s employee informs the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about wrongdoings at the company. The wrongdoing could be: laws being broken, fraudulent activity, safety violations, and more. One such whistleblower blew the whistle on the company of Monsanto.
The whistleblower was an executive at Monsanto who reported that some fraudulent accounting occurred regarding rebates. The rebates were offered to distributors and retailers for the Roundup weed-killing product, because a generic version of roundup had undercut the company’s profits.
The promotional rebates helped the product and Monsanto greatly, which Monsanto did put on the books, however, they didn’t record other related costs, which led to a misrepresentation of profits.
At this point the Monsanto whistleblower’s identity is unknown and his attorney, Stuart Meissner, continues to assist the whistleblower with this case.
Why is This Case Important?
All whistleblower cases are important. It’s necessary to expose companies that engage in fraudulent behavior and break the law. They must be exposed so that others don’t continue engaging in these types of practices, which really hurt everyone, including investors.
Why Do You Need to Blow the Whistle?
Blowing the whistle is important because employees are able to see wrongful behavior at a company far better than anyone on the outside ever could. The government would likely never know about laws being broken unless they receive a tip. That’s why the SEC created the whistleblower program back in 2011.
It’s helped uncover many wrongful acts that companies have engaged in. This is good for everyone and helps keep companies honest. The punishment for a company that is caught engaging in wrongdoing is hefty sanctions from the SEC.
Why Blow the Whistle? What’s in it for You?
So, why would anyone want to blow the whistle in the first place? There’s a lot of risk involved in doing so. You could lose your job, your employer could retaliate against you in other ways, and you will likely receive a lot of negative attention.
If you lose your job your life could be impacted financially, your family could be affected, and you might even have difficulty getting a job ever again. Most people don’t want to blow the whistle. They don’t want to deal with the life upset that this could cause. In other words, what’s in it for you?
There is one thing in it for you: you can receive a large reward for blowing the whistle. If your tip or information leads to sanctions against the company you’ve blown the whistle on, then you can receive a percentage of the sanction amount.
For instance, if the government hits the company with a $4 million dollar sanction, you could receive a percentage of the sanction amount, usually between 10 and 30 percent. In this Monsanto case, the whistleblower received $22 million.
In addition to the cash reward, you also get to feel good knowing that you did the right thing and uncovered wrongdoing.
Need Some Legal Help from a Whistleblower Lawyer?
It can be frightening to blow the whistle on your employer, especially when your livelihood depends on that job. It’s a difficult decision but if you truly believe it’s time to alert the government to wrongdoings at your company you should contact a lawyer.
An SEC whistleblower attorney can walk you through the process and will be by your side during the aftermath. Doing the right thing can be a lot easier if someone is there to help you decide what the right thing is, and is there to help you do it. You don’t have to go through this situation alone.