Category Archive: Public Policy

Sep 15

Severance Agreements Cannot Interfere with Whistleblower Protections

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or the “Commission”) protects whistleblowers through Rule 21F-17, enacted under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which states that “[n]o person may take any action to impede an individual from communicating directly with the Commission staff about a possible securities law violation.” Prior cases have highlighted that …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2016/09/severance-agreements-cannot-interfere-with-whistleblower-protections/

Jul 14

Damage Award Aims to Curtail Future Transgressions

According to USA Today’s July 8, 2015 article, a woman was awarded a damages of $229,500 for being harassed by Time Warner Cable. The cable company solicited Araceli King with 153 robocalls despite her complaints and direct requests to cease and desist. Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the Manhattan federal court decided to triple the typical …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2015/07/damage-award-aims-to-curtail-future-transgressions/

Jun 23

The IRS Wants More Of Your Gambling Winnings

The taxation of gambling winnings is widely misunderstood (or at least widely not followed).  Gambling gains are included in gross income, reported on “other income” on form 1040.  Losses from gambling are allowed to the extent of gambling gains, but only as an itemized deduction.  The amount spent to generate any win reduces the win.  …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2015/06/the-irs-wants-more-of-your-gambling-winnings/

Jun 14

Canada Audits Dubious Senator Expenses At Great Cost

The recently released report by the Canadian Auditor General details numerous incidents of inappropriate spending by members of the Canadian Senate. The report investigated 116 current and former senators and 80,000 expense items totaling CAD $45,000,000 over a period from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2013. 30 of the senators under investigation were found …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2015/06/canada-audits-dubious-senator-expenses-at-great-cost/

May 21

Court Requires Expert Witness to Have a Body and a Brain

A recent case addressed the interesting question of whether a corporation could serve as an expert witness.  The matter involved a breach of fiduciary duty case coordinated with an appraisal proceeding, in re Dole Food Company (“Dole”).  The defendants designated Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated (“Stifel”), a corporation, to serve as their expert witness regarding …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2015/05/court-requires-expert-witness-to-have-a-body-and-a-brain/

May 04

Compliance Officer Gets Whistleblower Award

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently announced an award of $1.4 – $1.6 million provided to a compliance officer of a large company. Neither the company’s nor the officer’s name was made public due to confidentiality laws, but the information was reported to having pertained to significant financial harm to the company and/or …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2015/05/compliance-officer-gets-whistleblower-award/

Apr 15

SEC Takes Action on Overly Restrictive Confidentiality Agreements Affecting Whistleblowers

A recent enforcement action by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) is the first of its kind, concerning improperly restrictive language contained in a company’s confidentiality agreements that could potentially impede whistleblower rules and protections. The SEC charged KBR Inc. with violating Rule 21F-17 under the Dodd-Frank Act by requiring witnesses in internal investigations to …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2015/04/sec-takes-action-on-overly-restrictive-confidentiality-agreements-affecting-whistleblowers/

Mar 30

Bankruptcy Treatment of Education Debts is Clarified by the Ninth Circuit

A Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel has ruled that certain tuition related amounts are dischargeable in bankruptcy.  Generally, education related debts are not able to be discharged.  However, the Panel’s ruling did not apply this exception because the financial aid in question was a non-monetary tuition credit offered by a for-profit university. The Panel described the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2015/03/bankruptcy-treatment-of-education-debts-is-clarified-by-the-ninth-circuit/

Mar 23

GAO Reports Worsening Improper Payments

The Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) recently published a summary of the testimony of US Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro regarding government efficiency and effectiveness.  The GAO reports annually to Congress on federal programs, agencies, offices, and initiatives (both within departments and government-wide) that are fragmented, overlapping, or duplicative.  It also identifies opportunities for cost savings …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2015/03/gao-reports-worsening-improper-payments/

Mar 17

Good Deed Performed Too Early for SOX Award

The US Court of Appeals for the Second District has held that the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) was within its rights to deny a whistleblower award to Larry Stryker under Section 21F of the Dodd-Frank Act (“Dodd-Frank”), 15 U.S.C. § 78u-6. From 2004-2009, Mr. Stryker submitted information to the SEC regarding alleged wrongdoing by Advanced …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2015/03/good-deed-performed-too-early-for-sox-award/

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