Who can help me with a research fraud whistleblowing case?

Asked over 5 years ago - Chicago, IL

As a student, I know a faculty member in my department who falsified critical data in a grant proposal to NIH which won him multiple million dollars. Assuming the case is simple and the evidences are strong, would there be a good FCA case? There are a few such cases reported in the past in public media. In each of these cases,the university involved has actively carried out investigations. However, if a university (and ORI) wants to cover up a case, would there still be a chance of winning?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Thomas Franklin Asch

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . These types of cases are very fact intensive. If the evidence is indeed "strong" I suggest that you take it to an attorney immediately. This is true whether or not the university investigates or will attempt to cover up the situation.The case may still be very good. No university investigation is necessary to bring a case under the FCA. You cannot know whether you have a good case or not until you consult an attorney with False Claims Act experience. There are numerous questions that must be determined. Most attorneys in this area will evaluate your information without charge and tell you whether you have a case. You should collect all the information you have, including any documents, and make an appointment. Although you posted this six months ago, there is probably still plenty of time to bring this suit if it has merit.

    What you should know, or know how to find out::

    1. What were the false statements in the grant application? What was the truth?
    2. How do you know it was false?
    3. Who else knew the statements were false, and how?
    4. The date, or approximate date the grant application was submitted.
    5. The date, or approximate date the grant was made.
    6. What was the type of grant or program under which it was issued?
    7. What were the guidelines or requirements for the grant?
    8. How much was the grant?
    9. Were any supplements, amendments or clarifications to the grant application made later in the process?
    10. Do you have any documents to support your claim?
    11. Do you know of any specific documents that would support your claim?

    Do not add these details to an online question, but bring them to an attorney.

  2. W. Joseph Werner Jr.

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . Whistleblower cases in the legal community are more commonly called qui tams. There are both federal and state false claims act cases. Teh false claims cases began during the Civil War when Union soldiers found out ammunition they took into action was filled with saw dust rather than gun powder. It became known as Lincoln's Law. Currently, most false claims cases fall under the realm of healht care fraud; hoewver, that is not to say false claims do not arise anywhere federal and state funds arise. The City of Chicago may actually have its own municipal false claims regulations. You need to find a law firm that specializes in qui tam actions. The procedure in whistleblower case differs tremendously from other cases. For instance, if your attorney and you decide to file an action, you will do so under seal and provide copies of the sealed complaint to the US Attorney as well as the State Attorney General. The government will decide whether to intervene or to decline. If the government intervenes, your reward is going to be a little less than if they decline to intervene. If the government declines, your attorney and you will decide whether to go forward on your own. If the government does intervene, they will control the litigation. In closing, do not go hire a general practice attorney. Find someone with experience in these cases, a former assistant US attorney or assistant attorney general who is familiar with these cases would be best.

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