On the 26th of October 2020, Mary Inman (Lawyer and Partner at Constantine Cannon LLP) gave her presentation during the second seminar of the Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics Blog’s End-of-Year Seminar Series 2020 entitled “CSR, Whistleblowing and Human Rights” and organized by Dr. Costantino Grasso, Dr. Dawn Carpenter, and Dr. Luca d’Ambrosio. The series has been organised in partnership with the Centre for Financial and Corporate Integrity (CFCI) of Coventry University and the EU-funded research project VIRTEU (Vat fraud: Interdisciplinary Research on Tax crimes in the European Union – Grant Agreement no: 878619).
In her terrific talk, Mary Inman discussed “Financial Incentives for Whistleblowers” focusing on “the Global Expansion of Whistleblower Reward Programs.“
Mary Inman is a partner in Constantine Cannon’s London Office. After 20+ years representing whistleblowers in the U.S., she moved to London in 2017 to launch the firm’s international whistleblower practice. She specializes in representing whistleblowers worldwide under American reward programs. Her efforts on behalf of British whistleblower Andrew Patrick, were featured in a recent New York Times article. Her successful representation of three whistleblowers exposing fraud in the Medicare Advantage program was featured in a recent New Yorker magazine article. Mary is a recognized expert and frequent author and speaker on areas related to the application of the American whistleblower laws internationally and the use of whistleblower laws worldwide.
Summary of the Seminar (by Stephen Holden)
Beginning by contextualising the history of whistleblower legislation, Mary Inman explains how whistleblowers have been utilised for some time by the U.S. Government as a means of alerting the state to wrongdoing and fraudulent actions. This was found to be so effective, systems of rewarding citizens for information regarding fraud as means to incentivise them were soon established. Subsequently, official whistleblower channels were rolled out within various governmental agencies, expanding their remit to not only include fraud but also companies and actors undermining U.S. regulatory interests.
In addition to providing rewards for information, through the use of Qui Tam provisions Mary explains that the whistleblower became a primary tool for detecting and prosecuting fraud against the state, however, these protections have not been expanded to public sector fraud.
This understanding allows for a comparison of North American countries, and other countries with whistleblowing provisions, namely, while most countries are reactive to whistleblower complaints and will act to protect an individual once the whistle has been blown, in North America there is a proactive effort to encourage and empower whistleblowers through financial incentives and private prosecutions on the government’s behalf.
Through an analysis of the reward and incentive programmes, Mary is able to demonstrate improved outcomes in government enforcement and the recovery of billions of U.S. dollars that may have otherwise been lost.
Finally, Mary takes the opportunity to draw direct comparisons between the various U.S. whistleblower programmes and the provisions of other legislative systems, noting instances where financial reward programmes have been successfully rolled out in order to encourage whistleblowing.