If you have evidence that a company is defrauding the government, as a whistleblower or qui tam relator, you can file a legal action in the government’s name. The whistleblower receives a percentage of any money the government recovers. The mechanism for this is the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.
The U.S. Department of Justice has 60 days to investigate the claim and decide whether it will join in the legal action. If the government joins the lawsuit, the whistleblower can receive between 15 and 25 percent of the recovery, depending on the value of the information provided. Similar laws exist in Florida and other states.
What Should You Do To Become A Whistleblower?
If you believe you have discovered fraud at your workplace, you should try to assess the magnitude of the fraud and gather whatever documentary or electronic evidence is lawfully available. You should do your best not to violate the law or the terms of any employment agreement in the process.
If you have attended meetings where the fraud was discussed or were involved in relevant events, you should write down the details of these meetings or events, including when they took place, what was said by whom, who was present, and what documents exist that memorialize the conferences or events.
Write the notes as a memorandum to your whistleblower attorney so that the attorney-client privilege will protect them.
There are some critical restrictions on federal whistleblower actions. You cannot recover if another whistleblower has already filed a qui tam complaint based on the same information. Therefore, you must never discuss the fraud with others. Doing so may inspire co-workers or others to file a qui tam action as well, thereby barring yours. Also, information that has already been made public cannot serve as the basis of a whistleblower claim.
If you’ve collected the evidence, our experienced whistleblower attorneys can help you determine if you’ve discovered fraud, guide you through blowing the whistle in a manner calculated to protect your career, and fight for your rights if your employer retaliates.