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How does whistle blowing work? Do I have to be an employee?

Claremont, CA |

I know of two brothers who own a few markets. I have been told by friends and family that these brothers sell non food items for food stamps. They also buy food stamps from you for half price. I even witness this happening at one of the stores. I asked how long has this been going on a I was told over 15 years. I want to know if I can get a reward for reporting these people. I know the government pays up to 30% of what is recovered as a reward. I know I need to find a lawyer to help also.

Attorney Answers 1


  1. Most whistle blowing laws we deal with relate to protections provided to employees who oppose unlawful practices engaged in by their employers. In certain situations, the employee may be able to obtain an award as a result of, what are known as, qui tam lawsuits. If you are not an employee, I do not believe you have standing to participate in such a suit. But that does not prevent you from reporting criminal activity you believe to be happening, as a good citizen. I'm sure you are not the kind of person who would only report a crime if there were a financial reward in it for you.

    They say you get what you pay for, and this response is free, so take it for what it is worth. This is my opinion based on very limited information. My opinion should not be taken as legal advice. For true advice, we would require a confidential consultation where I would ask you questions and get your complete story. This is a public forum, so remember, nothing here is confidential. Nor am I your attorney. I do not know who you are and you have not hired me to provide any legal service. To do so would require us to meet and sign written retainer agreement. My responses are intended for general information only.

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