For as long as corrupt organizations and groups have existed, there have also been courageous people who exposed the corrupt misdeeds of these groups in an effort to better society. In modern society, we call these people who expose wrongdoing “whistleblowers.” Whistleblowers are often the people who need legal protection the most. If you want to expose the fraudulent activities of your employer, it is critical to have a lawyer to advise you before taking action.
According to Sattiraju Law Firm, whistleblowers must meet specific criteria in order to be protected under the law. Whistleblower defense attorneys are equipped with the knowledge and experience to guide you on such complicated matters. The goal of a whistleblower defense lawyer is to inform the potential whistleblower of their options and rights, as well as file legal claims in the case of retaliation on the employer’s behalf.
Federal, as well as State governments, have established certain laws that protect whistleblowers against any kind of retaliation. In cases of fraud, there are also laws that may allow whistleblowers to be rewarded financially.
The FCA (Federal False Claims Act) is the law that allows private citizens to sue someone when they defraud in the United States. The citizen bringing this action is the “Relator.” 29 states along with the District of Columbia and some cities also have false claim statutes to reward the whistleblowers to help recover state funds. Together, these laws are also known as “Qui Tam.”
Some states have whistleblower laws that cover other types of fraudulent activities. For example, tax and securities frauds are the two types of activities that different statutes address. However, the common thing that applies to all laws related to whistleblowers is that they impose strict requirements for the Relator.
Definition of Fraud Against the Government
When a person lies to get some money that he/she is not entitled to, it is a fraud. For example, if a contractor bills the government for his services, but he has not delivered those services, it is equivalent to a fraud.
In another instance, if a hospital or doctor submits an invoice to the medical insurance company saying they spent several hours with the patient whom they only visited for 30 minutes, it is a fraud.
These people, and people engaged in similar activities, can be penalized under whistleblower laws.
Rights Of A Whistleblower
Under the Federal Claims Act, whistleblowers for fraud may receive a percentage of the money the government recovers because of their actions. The reward is a substantial amount – between 15% and 30% of the judgment.
Whistleblowers also receive a monetary reward for damages if they can prove that the employer punished them for reporting fraud and they incurred losses or lost wages due to illegal retaliation.
If this type of complex case is mishandled, the whistleblower may not receive any compensation at all. This may happen even in case if the government receives all the funds with penalties as well as interests. For example, improper information disclosure could prevent a recovery.
There are risks associated with the professional reputation, too, if the company under investigation seeks to harm the whistleblower’s credibility to avoid liability.
The only way to ensure proper procedure is to hire a whistleblower defense lawyer in your state. Be selective and choose an experienced lawyer to represent your case.