Famous whistleblowers in recent years have been instrumental in shaping more stringent U.S financial regulations. Incentivising schemes have also been introduced by the U.S government to encourage more individuals to blow the whistle by offering financial rewards and improving the laws protecting whistleblowers from retaliation. Famous whistleblowers have gained global recognition and not only raised awareness of the importance of the individual whistleblower but have successfully implemented the False Claims Act, designed to allow people who are not affiliated with the government to file suit against a federal contractor who is defrauding the government .
Time Magazine honored famous whistleblowers, Cynthia Cooper of Worldcom, Sherron Watkins of Enron and Colleen Rowley of the FBI in their 2002 Personâ€™s of the year award. This national recognition not only raised public awareness and encouraged individuals to act accordingly it also instigated rigorous amendments to the U.S Whistleblowers Act which introduced more effective laws protecting whistleblowers.
Laws Protecting Whistleblowers
There are over 30 federal laws protecting whistleblowers from employer retaliation. Amongst the laws protecting whistleblowers is the Sarbanes Oxley Act which was introduced in the aftermath of huge financial scandals surrounding global entities WorldCom and Enron. Â Cynthia Cooper, whistleblower and former employee of WorldCom is the perfect example of one of the many famous whistleblowers that can be learnt from. Cooper discovered that the Clinton, Mississippi based company had been classifying operating costs as capital expenditures in order to inflate profits. Cooperâ€™s response was to attend the auditing committee of WorldComâ€™s board in June 2002 and draw attention to the fact that the company had been using suspect accounting practices and within days the board fired WorldComâ€™s chief financial officer, Scott Sullivan. WorldCom later disclosed that it inflated profits for over a year by the improper accounting of more than $3.9 billion by transferring routine expenses to capital expenditures in order to create the appearance of larger earnings. In 2005 Bernard Ebbers, WorldComâ€™s CEO was found guilty by a federal jury of fraud, conspiracy, and filing false documents with regulators and sentenced to 85 years in prison.
Cynthia Cooper, whistleblower and former WorldCom employee went on to form Cynthia Cooper consulting and now offers advice on corporate ethics to corporations, universities and business schools throughout North America.
There is a great deal to be learnt from famous whistleblowers so if you are considering blowing the whistle on an employer or company then you should contact an experienced whistleblower attorney at our personal injury law firm who will evaluate your claim and protect you from retaliation. Please fill out an online form and learn more about your legal rights and the consequences of filing suit.