Whistleblowers are the most essential element to discovering and exposing fraudulent government activity. Over the years, whistleblowers have been awarded millions for their efforts in revealing fraud. Also known as qui tam pro actions, whistleblowers may sue on behalf of the US government after witnessing fraud, waste or abuse within government programs. They must have firsthand knowledge of fraud or other wrongdoing in order to bring a valid claim.
How Do I Make a Whistleblower Claim?
It is important to secure proper documentation and have all your “ducks in a row,” so to speak, before bringing a whistleblower claim. An experienced attorney can assist with this before reporting any wrongdoing, ensuring the claim will be valid under either the federal False Claims Act (FCA) or a particular state’s false claims laws. Qui tam cases often require extensive documentation, so it’s important to contact an attorney in a timely manner if you wish to pursue a claim.
Recent Settlements and Judgements
In 2015, the Department of Justice (DOJ) recovered more than $3.5 billion in settlements and judgements. That same year, 638 qui tam lawsuits were filed by whistleblowers. Most of the settlements and judgements came from the healthcare sector, although other recoveries were made against financial and government contracts industries.
Being a whistleblower takes courage, and retaliation is not uncommon. Blowing the whistle could have a negative effect on a person’s reputation and career. However, laws are in place to protect a whistleblower from termination, discrimination or other threats. In fact, the law guarantees the whistleblower must be reinstated to his or her former position or status as well receive as recovery of back pay, interest and other financial compensation. Having an experienced lawyer on your side can help protect you in these circumstances.
There are many factors to consider when evaluating a potential qui tam case, and certain claims are not actionable under the FCA. If you think you may have a case, contact an attorney who is knowledgeable about bringing this type of action, as these cases must be worked both quickly and efficiently.