Category Archives: ethics

IRS Awards $4.5 Million to Whistleblower

We’ve seen and written plenty of whistleblower stories, but this one from NBC Philadelphia caught my attention because it involves the Internal Revenue Service awarding an accountant for turning in his employer for tax evasion.

The lawyer for the accountant calls it a “win-win for both the government and taxpayers.”

“These are dollars that are being returned to the Treasury that otherwise wouldn’t be,” the lawyer, Eric Young of Blue Bell, Pa., tells the press.

Mind you, this isn’t the largest whistleblower award issued. Young represented one who netted $2 billion in a case against Pfizer  was part of a $2 billion settlement Pfizer paid to the government.

It’s also not the first tip to come into the IRS Whistleblower Office  since it opened in 2007. According to this report the Office received nearly 1,000 tips involving more than 3,000 taxpayers in fiscal years 2008 and 2009.

It is, however, the first in the program to reach fruition. Could this be the start of many more to come?

IBM Settles SEC Case Alleging Bribes in Korea, China

This one came as a surprise. For those of you with subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal, here’s that paper’s recent story on IBM’s reported $10 million settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission following the Armonk, N.Y.-based technology giant’s alleged decade-long campaign of bribery in China and Korea.

In its complaint, filed Friday, March 18, the SEC claims IBM employees gave shopping bags stuffed with cash to accomplices in South Korea and arranged junkets for government officials in China in exchange for millions of dollars worth of contracts for computer gear. The “widespread” payment of bribes, it says, involved more than 100 employees of IBM subsidiaries and occurred between 1998 and 2009.

The WSJ reported the settlement on March 19, the day after it was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. “IBM, which neither admitted nor denied the charges,” the story reads, “said it holds employees to high ethical standards and has taken ‘appropriate remedial action’ to address the issues raised by the U.S. government, though it wouldn’t be more specific.”

This isn’t the first case to come across HRE‘s radar screen suggesting an increasing crackdown by the federal government against corporations and executives accused of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act — as U.S.-based multinationals continue to grow rapidly abroad.

But it certainly is a big one, as most stories involving IBM are. The company’s immediate settlement is also worth a raised eyebrow or two.