A whistleblower is someone who exposes information about an illegal or unethical activity against the government or a private entity. When the activity is being committed against the U.S. government, the whistleblower may bring what is known as a qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act, which rewards whistleblowers when funds lost to fraud are recovered as a result of the information provided.
If you are aware of fraudulent activity against the government, you may be able to help stop the fraud and reap immense financial benefits. Fraud against the government doesn’t only hurt the government. For example, Medicare and Medicaid fraud has negative consequences for recipients of these programs, as well as taxpayers in general. A Boston whistleblower attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you are aware of fraudulent activities being committed against the U.S. government.
Personal and Professional Protections
In addition to being rewarded for their unique information, whistleblowers also receive protections under the False Claims Act. Not surprisingly, blowing the whistle on a large corporate entity can have personal and professional consequences, especially if that entity happens to be the whistleblower’s employer. Even so, it is a courageous, important act to expose fraud that could put the lives of patients, soldiers and the general public in grave danger. As such, whistleblowers are protected from retaliation, among other consequences.
Once you report the fraudulent or illegal activity, the government will begin an investigation of the allegations, from which point it will decide whether to intervene. If the government decides not to get involved with the case, you can continue with your qui tam case. However, such cases have a much better chance of success with the government’s involvement.
Whistleblower Awards May be in the Millions
If the individual or entity is found liable, they may have to pay up to three times the amount of funds lost to the fraudulent activity. The whistleblower is typically awarded between 15 and 25 percent of the recovered funds. Considering that recoveries are often in the tens-of-millions of dollars, 15 to 25 percent can be an extremely large sum of money.
In 2017, whistleblowers filed 669 qui tam suits, according to the Justice Department. Whistleblowers in the U.S. earned more than $392 million in 2017 by helping the government recover $3.4 billion in misappropriated or stolen funds. Below are some of the top whistleblower awards of 2017.
- Mylan Inc. – $465M settlement
- Shire Pharmaceuticals LLC – $350M settlement
- Allied Home Mortgage – $268M verdict
- eClinicalWorks – $155M settlement
- Life Care Centers of America Inc. – $145M settlement
- Bechtel Corp. / URS Energy and Construction Inc. – $125M settlement
- Agility Public Warehousing Co. – $95M settlement
- PHH Mortgage – $65M settlement
- CA Inc. $45M – settlement
- ADS Inc. $16M – settlement