February 1, 2021 - Posts

Whistleblower Roundup – February 1, 2021

A look back at the week’s news and developments affecting whistleblowers.


Nevada Man Charged with $1.9 Million COVID-Relief Fraud

A Nevada man, Jorge Abramovs, was charged for his alleged participation in a scheme to defraud multiple financial institutions by filing bank loan applications that sought more than $1.9 million dollars in forgivable loans. Mr. Abramovs allegedly obtained nearly $2 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans from seven different lenders by submitting multiple loan applications in the names of three different businesses while falsely claiming to have numerous employees earning wages. The indictment further alleges that Mr. Abramovs used the PPP funds for personal purposes, including purchasing a Tesla, a Bentley, two condominiums, and paying his home mortgage. To read the full press release, click here.



SEC Issues Over $1.1 Million to 5 Whistleblowers

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced five whistleblower awards totaling more than $1.1 million this week. The whistleblowers provided high-quality information that led to successful enforcement actions. Established under the Dodd Frank Act, the SEC Whistleblower Program offers monetary rewards to qualified whistleblowers who provide the Commission with original information of frauds. Whistleblowers can receive awards ranging from 10-30% of the sanctions collected from the successful enforcement action. Since 2012, 133 SEC whistleblowers have received approximately $737 million in awards. To read the full story, click here for the SEC’s press release.



Whistleblower Complaint Leads to Investigation of Exxon

According to the Wall Street Journal, the SEC has launched an investigation of ExxonMobil Corp in response to a whistleblower complaint filed with the SEC that alleges Exxon overvalued a key oil and gas asset. The whistleblower complaint concerns Exxon’s valuation of a key asset in the Permian Basin, which, located in West Texas and New Mexico, is currently the highest-producing oil field in the United States. According to the complaint, in order to reach a higher valuation of the asset, Exxon employees were forced to use unrealistic assumptions about the speed at which the company could drill wells there. The current status of the SEC’s investigation is unknown.



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