“Whistleblowing” is when an employee accuses individuals (or a company) of wrongdoing such as fraud or financial misconduct. As a finance professional, such as a financial planner, you're expected to behave honestly and ethically. Any accusations of wrongdoing could jeopardize your license and the career you've invested so much time in the building.
Here's what to do if you're facing whistleblowing accusations and why you should contact the Lento Law Firm immediately if you're facing such charges.
Cooperate With the Authorities
If authorities such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Federal Reserve are investigating your case, it's best to be transparent and cooperative. Your attorney will explain how the process works and what information you should provide to bring the matter to its swiftest conclusion.
Whistleblowers may bring allegations of employer retaliation if they feel victimized or discriminated against after raising a complaint. You should avoid any unnecessary contact with the whistleblower if you know their identity – Attorney Joseph Lento can help you determine the best approach based on your case.
Build a Defense Against the Accusations
You should prepare to defend the allegations. After all, your reputation in the financial sector is on the line, whether you're in banking, accounting, or insurance. The defenses you might use include:
- Lack of reasonable belief that wrongdoing took place.
- The allegations don't relate to one of the listed categories of wrongdoing.
- The accuser brought the allegations for personal gain or for malicious purposes.
Often, whistleblower accusations come from employees who misunderstand a situation. These mistaken beliefs are not malicious in nature, but they're no less damaging – Joseph Lento can help you counter such allegations as quickly and effectively as possible.
What Are the Consequences of Whistleblower Allegations?
The consequences depend on two factors: the nature of the accusations against you and whether the whistleblower can prove their case. As an example, misdemeanor fraud charges could attract the following penalties:
- New Jersey: Up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
- Pennsylvania: Up to five years in jail for a misdemeanor in the first degree.
- New York: Up to a year in jail.
A felony fraud charge in NJ, PA, or NY could incur a lengthier prison term and steeper fines.
It's hard to build a successful career in finance. There's a huge amount at stake if you're named in a whistleblower allegation – your entire professional career could be in jeopardy. Joseph Lento and his team can help you defend the charges and, where possible, mitigate the consequences.
How a Professional License Defense Attorney Can Help
If you're named in a whistleblower allegation, the Lento Law Firm can help. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has experience handling accusations of wrongdoing, and he can help you present the strongest possible defense to the charges. Attorney Lento and his expert team will ensure you have a fair opportunity to challenge the allegations – contact him online or call him at 888.535.3686.