The impact of “see something, say something” was on display as part of Construction Specialties’ (CS) settlement with the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced Wednesday for apparent Iran sanctions violations.
A whistleblower employee who came forward in the case overheard senior managers at CS Middle East talking about a “big job” with U.S.-origin goods, according to OFAC’s enforcement release. The managers dismissed the whistleblower for asking too many questions, but the latter refused to go quietly.
The whistleblower did not simply call a tip line or email someone at corporate—they flew to the United States from the United Arab Emirates and went to CS’s headquarters in New Jersey to raise the alarm. Talk about integrity.
Following an internal investigation launched by CS, the managers were terminated, and the whistleblower had their job restored.
CS Vice President and General Counsel Chuck Almer confirmed in an email to Compliance Week the whistleblower was reimbursed for all their expenses in making the trip and “promoted a year or two after the event and remained in that position” until they voluntarily left the company.
CS was penalized more than $660,000 for the apparent misconduct of its “rogue” managers, but its remedial response informed by the whistleblower’s coming forward enabled it to avoid a maximum penalty of $1.1 million in the case.
And here’s the ironic twist: Whistleblowers are eligible to receive an award totaling 10 to 30 percent of the monetary penalties collected in an enforcement action with penalties exceeding $1 million under the Treasury’s sanctions whistleblower program. Of note, that would have required the tipster bringing the information to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
Integrity is defined as a core value at CS that “guides everything that our employees do,” according to Almer.
“This case is a perfect example that these concepts are ingrained as a part of CS culture and not just words on paper,” Almer said.
We’d call the commitment to reporting misconduct displayed by the whistleblower a compliance officer’s dream.