Skip to main content
Press Release

U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey Announces Policies Underlying Whistleblower Pilot Program

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, United States Attorney Ismail Ramsey publicly announced the release of new policies underlying the Northern District of California (NDCA) Whistleblower Pilot Program.  The recently-announced NDCA Whistleblower Pilot Program (attached and published here) is designed to proactively uncover criminal conduct in the District.

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced the pilot program on March 7, 2024, as part of her keynote address to the American Bar Association’s 39th National Institute on White Collar Crime in San Francisco, California. During the keynote address, Deputy A.G. Monaco observed that the program complements the Department of Justice’s Voluntary Self Disclosure (VSD) programs—programs that encourage companies to take responsibility for misconduct within their organizations. The Whistleblower Pilot Program is, “in essence, [a] voluntary self-disclosure program[ ] for individuals.” Like the VSD program, the new Whistleblower Pilot Program rewards self-disclosure, in part by “offering non-prosecution agreements to certain categories of at-fault individuals who self-disclose wrongdoing . . . .”

United States Attorney Ramsey said:

“Our District’s new Whistleblower Program creates a strong incentive for wrongdoers to come forward, report crimes, and cooperate with us in several critical areas – fraud, public corruption, and theft of trade secrets.  In exchange for the self-disclosure of unknown federal crimes and for ongoing cooperation against other individuals, qualifying whistleblowers can receive a promise from this Office not to prosecute them.

Our message to companies and individuals alike is straightforward:  If you know a crime has been committed, you have a limited window to come forward and receive leniency.  If you choose not to come forward, someone else will, and then you will face prosecution and punishment.  To get on the right side of the law and take advantage of this program, email us using the instructions on our website.”

The Whistleblower Pilot Program encourages early and voluntary self-disclosure of criminal conduct by individual participants in certain non-violent offenses.  In exchange for self-disclosure and cooperation against others involved in the criminal conduct, the Office of the United States Attorney in the NDCA will enter into a non-prosecution agreement where certain specified conditions are met, including, importantly, the condition that the Government was not previously aware of the criminal conduct that is the subject of the disclosure.  By providing clarity on the requirements and the benefits of such self-disclosure, the published policies incentivize individuals and their counsel to provide actionable and timely information.  That will, in turn, help bring more misconduct to light and better protect the communities within the District.

As with all internal policies of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, this program provides guidance to prosecutors.  Nothing in these policies creates any substantive or procedural rights, privileges, or benefits enforceable in any administrative, civil, or criminal matter by prospective or actual witnesses or parties.  It remains at all times in the sole discretion of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to determine whether an individual has satisfied each of the conditions necessary for the Office to enter into a non-prosecution agreement in exchange for the individual’s cooperation, and, where the Office has determined that any of those conditions are not met, it remains at all times in the sole discretion of the Office to determine whether to extend a non-prosecution agreement in exchange for the individual’s cooperation.

Updated March 18, 2024