Frequently Asked Questions
According to the DOJ, the following six questions are the most frequently asked questions by the public about this program. The questions and DOJ’s standard answers are here paraphrased.
1. What are “stolen assets”?
By statute, the term “stolen assets” means financial assets within the jurisdiction of the United States constituting, derived from, or traceable to, any proceeds obtained directly or indirectly from foreign government corruption. The term “financial assets” means funds, investments, or ownership interests, that, after January 1, 2021, come within the United States or that come within the possession or control of any U.S. person.
2. Who is Ineligible to Receive these awards?
The Program restricts reward eligibility and payments under two circumstances:
- Employees of foreign, U.S. federal, state, or local governments who furnish information obtained in the performance of official duties are ineligible for reward payment
- Potential reward recipients involved in the underlying misconduct are subject to a mandatory reduction of any reward, and may be subject to a denial of any award at all, at the Secretary of the Treasury’s discretion. In addition, any potential reward recipients who are convicted of criminal conduct arising from their role in the underlying corruption will be denied a reward.
3. Does the program require that information be related to a specific corruption case in order to receive an award?
No. Those with information regarding assets tied to foreign government corruption may submitted, even if it is not linked to a specifically identified matter.
4. How are reward amounts determined and what is the maximum reward allowable under the Program?
The reward eligibility and amounts are deter mined on a case-by-case basis. The Interagency Review Committee may consider a reward nomination in response to information an individual provides directly to Treasury, an investigating agency, or a U.S. embassy abroad. By statute, the maximum amount of any reward is $5 million, unless the Secretary of the Treasury determines the case merits a reward greater than $5 million, personally authorizes a greater amount, and notifies Congress of the determination.
There is no guarantee of any reward for information provided, or, if a reward is authorized, the timing of any payment. Reward payments are made strictly at the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury, acting in consultation with the Secretary of State and Attorney General. The Secretary may deny or reduce an award payment recommended by the Interagency Review Committee.
The reward amount is supposed to be based on various factors, including whether the information was previously known to investigating agencies, the risk assumed by the informant, and the significance of the information in leading to the restraint or seizure, forfeiture, or repatriation of the assets identified.
5. What guarantees are there about the confidentiality of information provided or payments made?
The Department of the Treasury is supposed to keep strictly confidential, the information received, the identity of the whistleblower, and any monies paid. However, there may be circumstances under which some information relating to the source of the information may have to be disclosed or it may be possible to identify sources from the information provided. U.S. law enforcement authorities will be in communication with a whistleblower to discuss these issues if the information provided is deemed to merit further investigation.
6. What are the consequences of knowingly providing false information?
To be eligible for consideration for a reward, nominees must submit information under penalty of perjury. Those who knowingly provide false information may be referred to U.S. law enforcement for further investigation.