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Whistleblowing: Overview

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Gary Aguirre knows how executives of large institutions react when they realize someone on the inside knows they are breaking the law but won’t play the game. He understands how that individual becomes conflicted and inevitably ponders: I should do something about this, but becoming a "whistlerblower" could harm my career.

No one is born a whistleblower. Few choose it as a career path. Rather, it is often a role thrust upon individuals who just want to do their jobs: bookkeepers, appraisers, lawyers, IT technicians, accountants, analysts and traders to name a few. Staying silent may mean watching while the institution harms innocent third parties or even the public. Sometimes it means becoming part of the cover-up. Taking action may be the only way for some to remain true to who they are. As Henrik Ibsen expressed through the fictional Peer Gynt: “To thine own self be true.” These are the “whistleblowers” Aguirre Law, APC seeks to assist.

In representing the firm’s whistleblower clients, Gary Aguirre brings the skills and tenacity that account for his remarkable success as a trial attorney (Aguirre bio) and his status as one nation’s most successful whistleblowers. As his own attorney, he took on a federal law enforcement agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and beat it in forum after forum until it finally did what was right. The images and headlines above tell part of the story.

According to the New York Times, Mr. Aguirre obtained the largest settlement on record for a whistleblower in a case before the Merit Systems Protection Board, the federal agency which decides these types of claims. In the process, acting as his own attorney, Mr. Aguirre also succeeded against the SEC in five other forums: the Congress, the United States District Court, and three other Federal agencies: the Office of Special Counsel (which intervened on Mr. Aguirre’s side), the SEC’s Inspector General, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Mr. Aguirre’s detailed written testimony before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary is available on the Committee’s website and his oral testimony on CSPAN. In August 2007, the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees issued a 108-page report chronicling the facts and concluding that senior SEC officials fired Mr. Aguirre for questioning the SEC’s decision to give preferential treatment to Morgan Stanley’s CEO. A decision by a United States District Court, relying on the same evidence, concluded the SEC had acted improperly. The SEC’s own inspector general also sided with Mr. Aguirre and recommended that his supervisors be disciplined.

Mr. Aguirre brings to the firm’s whistleblower clients the same skill and commitment he successfully brought to his own case against the SEC.

 


Mr. Aguirre primarily assists clients throughout California including San Diego, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Alameda, Kern and Orange Counties with investor and whistleblower claims involving banks, hedge funds, mutual funds, private equity funds, brokers, and other financial institutions. He focuses on claims arising out of market abuse (e.g., market manipulation, high frequency trading, insider trading, naked shorting), investment fraud, bribes to foreign officials under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the filing of false claims under federal or California law (qui tam statutes). Mr. Aguirre may represent individuals and institutions pro hac vice (in a particular case) in most states, but must first obtain the approval of the forum court, which has been routinely granted in the past. He will also assist individuals from any state or country who seek an award from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) under their whistleblower incentive programs.



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