America: Land of the Free, Home of the Brave – Even for Whistleblowers

There are just some things Americans take for granted. In fact, the freedoms we hold dear aren’t just for Americans; they are in place for all citizens of the U.S., regardless of nationality, creed or religion. That’s just the way things are here in the good old U.S. of A. Not so in many other places in the world.

For example, in China, where the wheels of commerce grind just as loudly – if not louder than the U.S. – employees are told to be seen and not heard. Any person who decides to report his or her employer for wrongdoing, known as “whistleblowing,” could very well be facing prison time for airing dirty Chinese laundry.

According to a recent New York Times article, such was the case with a Canadian man who recently returned to Vancouver after spending two years in a Chinese jail. Kun Huang, Chinese-born Canadian citizen, spoke out about suspected fraud he uncovered while researching information for his employer about Chinese companies starting to list on U.S. and Canadian stock markets.

He did considerable research and reported back to his employer, Eos, a hedge fund, about good stocks worthy of investment. However, as Kun Huang filtered his research back to John Carnes, head of Eos, the hedge fund leader began to notice evidence of fraud. When Kun Huang looked into Silvercorp Metals, a Canadian silver producer that mines in China, he found reports from the company that unveiled some mines were not doing as well as Silvercorp had reported to the Chinese government and reported the information back to Carnes. A subsequent report from Carnes, released under the name Alfred Little, asserted that Silvercorp exaggerated the amount of silver coming from the Chinese mines.

The company denied the reports and demanded to know who had made the allegations. Talk about being in the wrong place at the right time: Mr. Huang was subsequently arrested and jailed for two years in the Luoyang detention center because he was in China and available for arrest. The NYT article said that his conviction was based on “the crime of impairing business credibility and product reputation.”

The story underscores the beauty of the American judicial system. Here, whistleblowers have protections against not only criminal charges but also against discrimination for shining light on fraud.

If you or someone you know suspects or has evidence of fraud against the U.S. government by your employer or another company, talk to the experienced qui tam attorneys at Begelman & Orlow, P. C.. We will listen to your claims and help determine if you have a whistleblower case worth pursuing in court.

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