Thinking of Blowing the Whistle?
Individuals who have and report insider knowledge of illegal activities occurring in an organization are known as whistleblowers. Whistleblowers play a critical role in holding businesses and industries accountable, and they also protect taxpayer dollars. Blowing the whistle on fraud or any other illegal activity that goes against the public interest benefits the government and its people. That is why the U.S. government offers incentives and protections to those who share credible information with them. While most whistleblowers may be understandably fearful to come forward for fear of retaliation from their employer, there are strict laws in place to protect whistleblowers from retaliation.
What Are Some Examples of Fraud?When an individual or company seeks to procure unwarranted funds from the federal government, it’s considered fraud and a violation of the False Claims Act (FCA). The FCA, also known as the Lincoln Law, imposes liability on individuals and companies who defraud government programs.
Fraud occurs in virtually every industry in which government contracts exist. Types of fraud include:
Medicare and Medicaid fraud
Defense contractor fraud
Federal crop insurance fraud
Federal student loan fraud
What Is a Qui Tam?Qui tam is a provision in the FCA that allows private citizens with evidence of fraud perpetrated against the federal government to sue the wrongdoer on behalf of the U.S. government. These citizens are rewarded with a substantial share in any financial recovery that’s made (typically 15-30% of the total amount).
The qui tam provision was enacted to encourage private citizens to come forward with information about entities defrauding federal programs, thus allowing the government to recoup stolen funds. Qui tam lawsuits differ from other types of lawsuits, such as personal injuries, in that the person bringing the suit is not the one who has been directly harmed.
Any person with information about fraud against the government – an employee, contractor, competitor, or someone else – can bring a qui tam lawsuit.
If you have information about fraud against the U.S. government, contact us. We can help you determine if you have a case, and securely walk you through the process.
How Are Whistleblowers Protected?The government affords certain protections for whistleblowers. The FCA provides protection against retaliation: Whistleblowers may not be harassed, threatened, demoted, fired, or otherwise discriminated against because of their decision to come forward.
If you have been treated unjustly because you spoke out, you can file a lawsuit against your employer seeking damages including reinstatement (if you were fired) and back pay. Even if your claim turns out to be unsubstantiated, you are protected against retaliation provided your claim was made in good faith.
Can Government Employees Be Whistleblowers, Too?Government workers can also blow the whistle on their own government. The Whistleblower Protection Act is a federal law that provides these individuals with protection for disclosing various acts of unlawful and unethical behavior on the part of the U.S. government:
Violations of the law, rules, or regulations
Abuse of authority
Gross waste of funds
Substantial danger to public health or safety
If you are a federal employee who has uncovered possible fraud by the federal government and you have endured retaliation as a result (e.g., demotion, pay cut, firing, or harassment), contact us. We can review your case in a free, no-risk evaluation.
What Can a Whistleblower Attorney Do?Whistleblower lawsuits are complex, so you need a qualified whistleblower attorney on your side. You need a whistleblower attorney who can:
Evaluate your claim and all evidence relating to it
Help you file a lawsuit or submit information under the appropriate whistleblower program (depending on your type of case)
Persuade the government to get involved in your case, which increases the likelihood of success
Fight for the maximum compensation for your contributions as a whistleblower
Remain by your side from start to finish
We understand that you might be reluctant to file a qui tam lawsuit, but it is important to know that all FCA lawsuits are filed confidentially and may not be viewed by the accused or the general public.
Contact a Whistleblower AttorneyIf you have knowledge of fraud against or by the federal government, contact an experienced whistleblower attorney who can advise you on the relevant law, procedure, what to expect, and the merits of your case.