The best way to fight corporate crime is from within. The best witnesses are those with insider knowledge – whistleblowers willing to reveal the truth about what’s going on in the companies they work at. Until very recently going public with criminal activity could be thankless – you might be doing the right thing but you ran a serious risk of losing your job and, quite possibly, your reputation too.
To try to encourage more people to come forward the US has brought in legislation that allows whistleblowers to claim between ten and thirty per cent of any cash the government recovers as a result of any revelations. It is part of the Dodd Frank Act, designed to reform Wall Street after the financial crisis.
The important question is, of course, whether things are really different now. Tom Ajamie is one of America’s leading financial lawyers. He specialises in fraud cases and has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars from the fraudulent firms and crime syndicates who stole it. His biggest award was $429 million dollars. So – asks Justin Rowlatt – does Tom Ajamie think that Dodd Frank will make a difference?