The decision to become a whistleblower, bringing light to fraudulent activity against the government, is a brave endeavor. It takes a considerable amount of information and evidence as well as patience; filing a qui tam action under the False Claims Act takes time.
There are many reasons to contact an experienced whistleblower attorney if you are in possession of information about government fraud. There is certainly a lot to be said for “doing the right thing.” Medicare fraud, for example, costs taxpayers billions of dollars each year. While individual false claims cases may seem like chips off the block, they do add up.
Additionally, a successful relator (the name assigned to the person bringing forth the information) can receive financial incentives for getting involved. The percentage of the award is determined by whether the government gets involved in the case or not before it gets resolved as well as how much work has gone into assisting the government in recovering money stolen from the government through fraudulent activities.
The government is allowed to pursue three times the amount of the fraud, plus penalties. The whistleblower will get between 15 and 25 percent of the recovered money – if the government joins the case. When the government decides not to intervene, but the relator and attorney decide to pursue it alone, the whistleblower can get up to 30 percent of the total amount of money recovered.
According to a study published in the Boston University Law Journal, financial incentives make a huge difference in an informant’s decision to “blow the whistle.” Many whistleblowers are reluctant to do so because they fear for their jobs and reputations. However, when the evidence is overwhelming, the knowledge that the incentive could be extremely lucrative can tip the scales toward filing a claim.
The BU report said that while there are several types of incentives that could work, financial incentives provided for in the qui tam statute benefit both the whistleblower and ensure that the most information about the case is exposed. Further, the report revealed, that information the government would not be able to find out on its own is often uncovered through whistleblowing.
“Qui tam cases bring out important inside information. Potential qui tam plaintiffs can offer information about inchoate or ongoing malfeasance of which law enforcement is unaware,” the report said, noting “the bounty a relator stands to gain does, in many cases, outweigh the disincentives to being a whistleblower.”
If you have information about fraudulent activity being committed against the government, do not hesitate to contact Begelman & Orlow for a free consultation. We will review your evidence, discuss the possibility of a whistleblower case and advise you how to proceed.