Whistleblower regulations are evolving, and at the core of this evolution are programs designed to incentivize individuals to alert authorities when inappropriate actions have taken place. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has taken another step to incentivize cooperation from individuals involved in alleged misconduct. While the new program applies to all companies, experts have said it specifically targets banks, investment funds, and the healthcare industry.

The new pilot program on voluntary self-disclosure, announced in April by the DOJ’s criminal division, explicitly offers to forego prosecutions for individuals who cooperate with investigations into suspected wrongdoing by their employer. The program builds upon earlier efforts to credit companies for voluntarily reporting alleged internal misconduct. The Pilot Program on Voluntary Self-Disclosure for Individuals offers non-prosecution agreements (NPAs) to individuals who proactively provide original information to the DOJ’s criminal division concerning specified types of corporate criminal misconduct.

Key Points of the Program

  1. Cooperation Against Companies: For the first time, the DOJ program explicitly offers to forego prosecution of an individual in exchange for their cooperation against a company. This marks a significant shift in approach.
  2. Targeted Violations: Although the program applies broadly to misconduct by any public or private company, it emphasizes corporate malfeasance at banks, investment funds, and healthcare providers. Specifically, the program targets violations related to financial institutions, fraud, compliance with financial institution regulators, and foreign corruption and bribery.
  3. Supplementing Existing Programs: These whistleblower programs supplement existing programs with other enforcement authorities, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

By incentivizing individuals to come forward with information, the DOJ aims to encourage companies to create robust compliance programs that help prevent, detect, and remediate any alleged misconduct. As these programs evolve, we can expect to see continued attention on and incentives for whistleblowers from various enforcement authorities.

The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent clients in government investigations and related litigation.  If you have such a matter, contact us today.