International sales and business development personnel at all levels of qualifying companies now have a great opportunity to earn huge rewards for confidentially reporting bribery that has occurred at their current jobs (or their former jobs). The Dodd-Frank reward program covers corporate violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). International whistleblowers who provide information about corporate bribery of foreign government officials can receive large rewards. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission already has paid more than $150 million to whistleblowers. This post will discuss how current and former sales and business development personnel working in foreign countries may have reward eligible information relating to bribery and FCPA violations.
FCPA Rewards: Travel & Entertainment / Expense Reports
Sales and business development managers and representatives may become aware of travel and entertainment expenditures being used as a means to bribe decision makers to obtain business for their companies. Below are a few examples:
- A regional sales manager for a technology company arranged for the chairman of a government tendering committee to visit Thailand for a week and stay at a highly luxurious resort in order to “demonstrate” the technical capabilities of the company’s product. Shortly after the trip, the government tendering committee changed the specifications to favor the sales manager’s company, which then received a multi-million-dollar deal. Information of this type could be reward eligible.
- Medical sales representatives submitted fraudulent and fake receipts from restaurants and hotels in their expense reports and then upon reimbursement would give cash to doctors to obtain additional sales and prescriptions. Information of this type could be reward eligible.
- A financial services manager arranged for an international vacation for a government decision maker and his wife under the guise of an educational seminar and in return the government decision maker gave the bank business. Information of this type could be reward eligible.
Like the examples noted above, sales personnel often have knowledge about the misuse of travel and entertainment expenditures to improperly influence decision makers to obtain business. This information can be very valuable. I have had cases where lower level sales employees have been involved in bribing officials to win business via travel and entertainment and reported their companies because their sales supervisors had either directed them to do so or had approved of the scheme. Even if sales personnel were involved in the scheme, their information could still be eligible as long as they were not the masterminds behind the scheme. If someone becomes aware of or suspects that the company’s travel and entertainment budget is being used to improperly influence decision makers (or had knowledge of it happening at his former company), then he or she should feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
FCPA Rewards: Payments to Suspicious Consultants, Agents, and Intermediaries
Sales and business development personnel often learn about their companies using suspicious consultants, agents, and intermediaries in an attempt to obtain business, including government deals and contracts. The use of suspicious third parties to obtain deals is highly indicative of potential bribery and wrongdoing and could be very valuable information. In one case, a sales employee knew that the company had approved a brand new reseller just days prior to a huge government tender being awarded and that the new reseller just happened to win the multi-million-dollar tender. The new reseller had been created by relatives of one of the government decision makers and the tender had been rigged for the new reseller to win. If anyone learns of a reseller, distributor, vendor, supplier, consultant, agent, or intermediary doing something suspicious in connection with winning a contract, bid, tender, or deal, then this can be very valuable information. Oftentimes additional commissions or rebates paid to agents in connection with government deals are indicative of corrupt payments and deals. If someone has this type of information, then he or she feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, as this could be valuable information.
FCPA Rewards: Gifts, Donations, and Sponsorships
Sales and business development personnel should review closely all expenditures on gifts, donations, and sponsorships with particular emphasis on all gifts, donations, or sponsorships that either were requested by government officials or were going to benefit officials. By way of example, in the healthcare sector, companies will often sponsor doctors, including government doctors or doctor who works at government hospitals, for international trips. In the vast majority of cases, there is an expectation that the doctor will either prescribe the company’s drugs or will place the company’s products on his hospital’s formulary list. Depending upon the specific facts, this type of information can be valuable. If someone has information relating to corporate gifts, donations, or sponsorships being misused, then he or she should feel free to contact me. For more information and details about how the reward program applies to FCPA whistleblowers, please click here.