Headliners Making Change

Blowing the Whistle

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Man wearing suit crosses arms and looks at camera

NPR’s Planet Money featured Jordan Thomas ’92 this past summer, speaking with him about the journey that led him to become the SEC top whistleblower attorney in the country. A former trial attorney at the Department of Justice and an assistant director at the Securities Exchange Commission, Thomas was a principal architect of an investor protection initiative through which whistleblowers can receive a substantial percentage of penalties the SEC collects in a successful enforcement action. Three of his clients were awarded a cumulative $83 million last year after Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch unit admitted wrongdoing and settled for $415 million in 2016—the largest whistleblower award in SEC history. His clients have brought tips to the SEC that continue to lead to huge cases against some of the biggest banks in the world. In his conversation with Planet Money, Thomas shared, “Our job is to figure out who the good guys are, the real whistleblowers, the ones who know where the bodies are buried and the ones who can lead us to them. And we’re pretty good at that. I think the second thing is that we’re kind of hardened realists.”