Who is a Whistleblower in False Claims Act, SEC, and Tax Litigation?
May 15, 2013 — Just since 2009, The United States Department of Justice has recovered over $10.3 billion in False Claims Act litigation involving Medicare, Medicaid or TRICARE fraud. That number shoots up to $14.2 billion if you include the Justice Department’s total recoveries during that time as a result of the False Claims Act.
The False Claims Act is a federal statute that allows private individuals who become aware of a fraudulent scheme against the government to sue the wrongdoers on behalf of the United States and then retain a share of the amount the government collects as a result of the lawsuit. Claims under the Act are often called “qui tam” lawsuits and the whistleblowers who file them are sometimes referred to as “relators.”
The government has also been aggressive in pursuing those engaged in financial fraud and tax fraud. Using the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) of 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have pursued thousands of claims. Like the False Claims Act, the Dodd-Frank Act authorizes cash incentives to tipsters who voluntarily notify the government with unique information used in the successful resolution of securities and commodities violations.
Like the DOJ and the SEC, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also relies on whistleblowers to prosecute tax fraud cases. The Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 established an IRS Whistleblower Office that has the authority to pay government collaborators from 15 to 30 percent of any recovery by the government as a result of a tipster’s information, provided certain requirements are met.
Are You a Potential Whistleblower?
Any individual with information of fraudulent schemes against the government can collaborate with the government to stop the misconduct, provided that the whistleblower’s information is unknown to the government from any other source. In theory, the individual might be anyone, but in practice, the people who are likely to know about fraudulent schemes against the government are inside employees. Insiders are most likely to discover that an employer is cheating the government. In fact, many tipsters have been instructed to participate in the fraud themselves or at a minimum, to look the other way. This is true for employees with knowledge of many types of fraud, including the following:
- Medicare, Medicaid & TRICARE Fraud
- Defense & Homeland Security Contract Fraud
- Education & Research Fraud
- Procurement Fraud
- SEC & CFTC Fraud
- Tax Fraud
Cash Rewards for Inside Informants With Crucial Information
It takes a brave soul to notify the government about an employer’s misconduct, even when you know something is horribly wrong. To reward informants who are willing to collaborate with the Justice Department, SEC, CFTC or IRS, the government is authorized to pay whistleblowers cash rewards — sometimes up to thirty percent of the amount collected by the government as a result of a tipster’s original information.
Waters & Kraus: Helping Whistleblowers Protect Taxpayers and Themselves
Waters & Kraus, LLP, has a national presence in qui tam litigation and extensive experience combating fraud against the federal and state governments. If you’re a potential whistleblower, you owe it to yourself to learn your own rights under the law applicable to your case. Our experienced lawyers offer company insiders the knowledgeable legal counsel they need in any sort of whistleblower litigation. We’re here to protect and maximize your legal interests. To learn more about our whistleblower practice, or to have a Waters & Kraus attorney review your potential case, email us or call 855.784.0268.