'Although Dr. Sanford’s most recent situation is over twelve years old, it is a textbook case of why international whistleblower protection laws and regulations should protect attorneys with multi-jurisdictional practices.'

The World Will Listen

Panama City, Panama


"Following an abduction while on company business, international whistleblower Adriana Sanford has distinguished herself by educating executives, thousands of college students, and the public at large on global threats and the dangers of corporate corruption. She also appears regularly as an international television commentator to over 24 million viewers in the United States and Latin America.

Dr. Sanford is frequently described as “an audience grabber” and as having “the unique ability to speak to students, captains of industry and academicians all in the same audience." With fluency in four languages, she serves as a keynote to leading think tanks, non-profits, and companies in the U.S. and Latin America, including the keynotes for one of the largest IT, telecom, technology and security conferences in Latin America for Spanish-speaking professionals specializing in audit, security, cyber ethics, cyber security, governance and IT risk, for one of Chile's (and Latin America's) leading think tanks, and for one of the largest cyber security career expos in Northern California. Over the last decade, she has lectured at more than 130 industry conferences and fora and worked with a broad range of global organizations to strengthen responsibility and builds foundations of trust and integrity in foreign markets.

Dr. Sanford provides high impact experiential courses featuring real-world encounters that demonstrate the complexities of open-ended situations and the severe consequences that may result from foreign jurisdiction non-compliance. Have you ever been on a path where no path you take is the right path? As a former in-house counsel of a Fortune 50 company, Dr. Sanford warns that legal ethics rules are varied in foreign countries and sometimes conflict with domestic rules, which places U.S. companies, executives, and in-house counsel in the position of deciding which laws and ethical rules to follow and which to break. The absence of uniform global rules of legal ethics creates serious ramifications for U.S. attorneys with multi-jurisdictional practices. Her focus is on global threats and laws at the international level, where possible outcomes for a company’s non-compliance creates criminal liability and poses physical danger for executives and their in-house counsel in foreign territories.

Dr. Sanford’s extensive experience addressing international organized crime and linking it to corporate fraud, bribery clubs, and other forms of business malfeasance spans over a 20-year period, including an illegal scheme involving Russian loans that resulted in the arrest and 30-year imprisonment of her former employer’s CEO. Over the past years, she handled several complex corruption and embezzlement cases in the United States and Latin America.

When the pre-Snowden whistleblower later found herself in peril for uncovering illegal schemes that went far beyond taxes and included phantom shipments and trade-based money laundering, she diligently protected her team. 

For the last decade, Dr. Sanford has focused her path towards teaching and educating others on these difficult issues and global threats. Her actions have been viewed by the public as a badge-of-honor and a model to be studied within corporate legal ethics.

After uncovering an illegal scheme, her life was in danger; she was repeatedly placed in harm’s way and was faced with bad actors that were corrupt, unethical, and dangerous. Physical harm had already befallen at least one team member.

An unfortunate result of being an international whistleblower was that twelve years later, she was reprimanded for her disclosures to the regulators, press, and the FBI. Despite the fact that Dr. Sanford’s disclosures were made for safety reasons, and that most of the on-going illegal activity was never made public (except for a Brazilian tax fraud matter that created criminal liability for her in US and foreign territories, if undisclosed), she received a one-month sanction from a state bar more than a decade later.

Her courage and endurance through trials and tribulations, along with two decades of practical legal knowledge in real-world settings, sets her apart from other academics in her field. In addition to publishing numerous articles that cover important and timely aspects of global corporate ethics and compliance for the largest supply management institute in the world and serving on the Amnesty International USA board of directors, Dr. Sanford served as lead author of two books on global threats that were adopted by the Institute for Supply Management to commemorate their 100-year anniversary. More recently, the internationally-recognized privacy and cyber security scholar co-authored a security book, Women in Security: Changing the Face of Technology and Innovation, which is part of the Women in Science and Engineering book series.

With decades of international experience and multiple law degrees from Georgetown and Notre Dame, the former Georgetown Law Dean’s Visiting Scholar served on the advisory committee of the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative to develop practical outcomes and key solutions to increase transparency and address corruption risks in Latin America

Meeting with New York Times Reporter

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

Notre Dame Professor G. Robert Blakey

Attorney and ND Criminal Law Professor Blakey is the nation's foremost authority on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO)

"Adriana is a very conscientious attorney."

President and CEO of Latin America
Consumer & Industrial 
General Electric Company

Dr. Adriana Sanford's APB Profile