What is a Whistleblower?
A whistleblower is a person who reports that a company, usually one is employed by, is involved in some form of misconduct.
When should someone blow the whistle?
There are different times someone should blow the whistle if an organization is committing a wrongdoing. These can be one or more of the following:
- Employer wrongdoing: safety violation, discrimination, etc.
- Medical Malpractice
- Corporate Corruption
- Fraudulent Acts in the Government
Are you protected for blowing the whistle on organizations?
Yes. The government provides different laws in order to protect the whistleblower from retaliation or unfair termination following the uncovering of some form of misconduct. OSHA provides many laws to protect whistleblowers who report wrongdoings all over the spectrum of workplaces. Additionly, the Whistleblower Protection Act seeks to protect employees who have blown the whistle on organizations committing wrongdoings. The act encourages people to blow the whistle without fear of losing their job or being retaliated against for doing so.
How can an organization defraud the government (corporate corruption)?
Organizations can defraud the government by making false claims to the government. Here are some of the ways corporate corruption takes place:
- Overbilling the government for goods or services
- Billing for goods or services not provided
- Preparing a false record or false statement in order to get a fraudulent claim paid
- Making a false statement to avoid paying a debt to the government
- Falsifying research results
- Manipulating procedures, such as upcoding and bundling or unbundling billing codes, in an attempt to overcharge the government
The organization is knowingly seeking to get money from the government by doing any of the above, thus making false claims. The False Claim Act looks to stop the above actions from happening by using the Whistleblower Protection Act to encourage employees to inform the government of wrongdoings.
Can you be rewarded for blowing the whistle?
Yes, you can be rewarded if the government recovers any of the money that the organization has been defrauding from the government. The False Claim Acts states that “if the government intervenes in the qui tam [whistleblower] action, the relator [whistleblower] is entitled to receive between 15 and 25 percent of the amount recovered by the government through the qui tam action.” However, if the government declines to intervene in the action, meaning the government will allow the whistleblower and their attorney to try the case themselves, the whistleblower’s share is increased to 25 to 30 percent. If the whistleblower was in anyway apart of the planning or initiated the fraud, the court may reduce the award without limitation. The whistleblower’s share is paid to the whistleblower by the government out of the payment received by the government from the defendant. For example, if they recovered $50,000 and you as the whistleblower was rewarded 15% of the recovered amount, you would get $7,500. If a whistleblower case is successful, the whistleblower is also able to be awarded associated costs to the action such as legal fees; paid by the defendant.
What should you do if you see or know of a organization’s misconduct?
Blow the whistle! Christensen & Hymas can help you with your whistleblower case. If you have witnessed government defrauding, you can be compensated for blowing the whistle. Call (801)506-0800 today for a free consultation of your whistleblower case.
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