If you have confidential information regarding environmental / wildlife crime, you may be entitled to a monetary reward from the U.S. government.
Whistleblowing laws have become an important method for exposing wrongdoing in the U.S. and abroad. In curbing wildlife crime, whistleblowers can play a key role in contributing to a successful prosecution. Many do not realize that if you report wildlife crime to the U.S. government, you may be entitled to monetary rewards when the information contributes to a successful prosecution. However, getting whistleblowers to come forward is difficult, especially since many are unfamiliar with the laws and necessary processes.
Today, over 40 major wildlife laws include whistleblower reward provisions (Kohn, S., 2016), but there are no publicly available procedures for whistleblowers to disclose information, apply for rewards, or obtain monetary compensation. Therefore, WildLeaks strongly recommends not going directly to the U.S. government. Instead, WildLeaks can act as an intermediary between the whistleblower and the federal agencies, ensuring that the whistleblower’s identity is concealed. If the whistleblower is given a monetary reward for disclosing information, WildLeaks can collect the reward on the whistleblower’s behalf.
Ivory in a warehouse in China. ©Earth League International (ELI)
Two U.S. laws – the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) – primarily regulate wildlife crime and have whistleblower reward provisions. Both U.S. citizens and noncitizens are eligible to receive rewards, incluidng foreign government officials.
There are also the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits bribery of U.S.-related persons, as well as the False Claims Act, which prohibits lying on customs forms.
If someone provides a tip about a wildlife crime they see happening, they may be eligible for a monetary reward for disclosing that information to law enforcement, regardless of which country or countries the crime occurs in.
In some cases the seizure provision can significantly increase a whistleblower’s reward. The Lacey Act stipulates that any vessels used for transporting illegal wildlife are subject to seizure and a reward payable to a whistleblower could be based on any “seizures” obtained under the law. If applied, any information leading to the seizure of a vessel transporting illegal flora and fauna could greatly benefit the whistleblower in regards to their monetary reward. The whistleblower could not only file claims and obtain rewards on the civil and criminal penalties, but also on the value of the seized vessels (Kohn, S., 2016).
Under those laws, we strongly recommends coming to us as we can act as an intermediary between the person with information and the US government, thus protecting the source’s identity and at the same time collecting the monetary reward for him/her. This includes also hiring a US attorney to follow the case and obtain the monetary reward. In other words, Earth League International (the manager of the WildLeaks Project) will assist you through the process while ensuring total confidentiality.
We invite individuals who have information that can be used to obtain a monetary reward to get in touch with using our secure, anonymous platform.