Blowing the Whistle on Fraud

This could be the most difficult or important decision of your career or your life; the team at Pelton Graham is here to help you.

Whistleblowing plays a crucial role in exposing and addressing misconduct, fraud, and non-compliance within organizations. Among the various legal avenues available to whistleblowers, qui tam actions stand out as a powerful tool for combating fraud against the government. Qui tam, a provision under the False Claims Act, allows individuals, known as relators, to file lawsuits on behalf of the government against entities that have defrauded government programs.

Qui tam actions are instrumental in recovering billions of dollars for the government and serve as a significant deterrent against the misuse of government funds. Because wrongdoers take steps to hide their activities, whistleblowers play an important role in the fight against corruption. This is especially true of “insiders” who have access to information that is not widely available. In order to encourage those with information to come forward, the government has created programs to reward people who assist in obtaining relief from the wrongdoers. By filing a qui tam lawsuit, a whistleblower may be entitled to up to 30% of the money recovered by the government.

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Reporting Fraud and Corruption

Whistleblowers are often employees of the wrongdoer, but competitors, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders may also have valuable information that can lead to a whistleblower action. And the employees coming forward are not just accountants – indeed, production workers, compliance personnel, purchasing agents, human resources managers and executives have all been whistleblowers.

Whistleblowers report fraud and corruption in all sectors, with some of the most common being:

  • Health care and pharmaceuticals
  • National defense contracting

  • Accounting and financial services, including banking, mortgage, and insurance

  • Construction, infrastructure, and public works

  • Regulatory compliance, especially in the areas of environmental and safety regulations

  • International business dealings
Accounting spread sheets and calculator
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The Key to a Successful Whistleblower Action

The key to a successful whistleblower action is convincing the government to join the case. For this reason, whistleblowers are strongly encouraged to seek out an attorney to assist them in bringing a claim. Attorneys can gather the most relevant information, create a persuasive narrative of the activity causing injury to the government and citizens, submit information to the correct agencies, and communicate with government attorneys. In addition, some agencies can only guarantee anonymity to the whistleblower if he or she has an attorney.

Retaliation is an all-too-common result of whistleblowing, despite numerous laws designed to prevent it. Pelton Graham are experienced retaliation lawyers and will fight to protect your rights if you do make a claim.

When and what to report—and to whom—are primary considerations for employees looking for protection against retaliation after reporting potential wrongdoing at their company. Whistleblower laws are a state and federal patchwork, some dating back to the Civil War era, and solid legal advice is needed to determine the most favorable path through the maze.

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If you are concerned about a situation you are aware of, you should act promptly to seek advice, both in order to take the burden off of your shoulders and because whistleblower laws have limitations periods which could act to bar your claim.

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