Who is Eligible to be a Whistleblower?
Our Whistleblower lawsuit lawyers can help you determine if you have a viable Whistleblower case under state or federal laws. Hundreds of Whistleblower lawsuits are filed every year, and many have been settled for millions of dollars. Whistleblower lawsuits hold public entities accountable while protecting and compensating the Whistleblower for the risks taken by exposing wrongdoing.
A Whistleblower can be any person that witnesses and reports misconduct by an individual, an organization, or a government entity. Typically, the misconduct involves a violation of any law or regulation. Whistleblowing cases can involve stock/securities fraud, money laundering, health threats, safety violations, tax evasion, malpractice, corporate corruption, and more.
Whistleblower Eligibility Under the False Claims Act
In order to be eligible to receive compensation under the federal False Claims Act, a person must file a Whistleblower Qui Tam lawsuit. Simply informing the government about the false claim is not enough. Second, a relator may receive compensation only if, and after, the government and relator recover money from the defendant as a result of the lawsuit. Just the act of filing the lawsuit is not enough.
A Whistleblower filing a Qui Tam lawsuit can receive between 15 and 30 percent of the total recovery from the defendant, whether through a favorable verdict or settlement. If the government intervenes and joins a lawsuit brought by a Whistleblower, the relator generally is eligible to receive at least 15 percent, and up to 25 percent of the recovery, depending on the relator’s contribution to the prosecution of the lawsuit. If the government chooses not to intervene and the relator proceeds with the lawsuit on his own, the relator can receive between 25 and 30 percent of the recovery.
Types of Fraud Covered by the False Claims Act
The False Claims Act defines a Whistleblower claim as any request or demand, whether under contract or otherwise, for money or property which is made to a contractor, grantee, or other recipient if any portion of it will be provided or reimbursed by the United States. Thus a false claim will be actionable under the False Claims Act if payment of the false claim would result in a loss to the United States. The Whistleblower lawsuit lawyers at our firm can evaluate your claim to determine if it fits the parameters of a Qui Tam claim brought under the federal False Claims Act.
The Whistleblower provisions included in the False Claims Act pertain to fraud involving government contractors, the defense industry, environmental fraud, grant fraud, mischarging, false negotiations and defective pricing, product and service substitution, and healthcare, Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The False Claims Act does not cover tax fraud, trust fraud, inheritance fraud, or estate fraud. The Whistleblower lawsuit lawyers at our firm have experience with all of the types of fraud covered by the federal False Claims Act.
Under the False Claims Act, a Whistleblower – known as a relator – must allege with specificity and clarity that the defendant knowingly presented or caused to be presented a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval to an officer or employee of the United States government. The defendant must have also knowingly made, used, or caused to be made or used, a false record or statement to get a false or fraudulent claim paid by the government, conspired to defraud the government by getting a false or fraudulent claim allowed or paid; or knowingly made, used, or caused to be made or used, a false record or statement to conceal, avoid, or decrease an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the government. Our Whistleblower lawsuit attorneys can evaluate your fraud claim to make sure it meets the specifications of the federal False Claims Act.
State Whistleblower Eligibility
States that allow Whistleblower lawsuits may only allow them for certain types of fraud. Some states’ False Claims Acts only cover fraud involving Medicaid or other state healthcare funds, while others cover a range of state programs. Other states grant rewards for providing information that leads to the recovery of state funds but do not allow Whistleblowers to file Qui Tam lawsuits. Experienced Whistleblower lawsuit lawyers like those at our firm will understand the intricacies of state Whistleblower laws, and will make sure that their clients receive all the protection and compensation allowed by such statutes.
Timing of a Whistleblower Lawsuit
It is important to contact a Whistleblower lawsuit lawyer as soon as you believe you are aware of wrongdoing covered by the False Claims Act. If the government or another private person has already filed a False Claims Act lawsuit based on the same allegations as you are aware of, your lawsuit will be subject to dismissal. It is therefore important to file a Qui Tam lawsuit, in most circumstances, as soon as reasonably possible.
Most Whistleblower lawsuits are subject to statutes of limitations. These vary by state and federal agencies. For example, employees or former employees may have up to 300 days to file a discrimination case against their company. Environmental Whistleblowers have only 30 days to make a written complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Federal employees complaining of violation of civil rights laws have only 45 days to make a written complaint to their equal employment opportunity (EEO) officer. Those reporting false claims against the federal government may have up to 6 years to file a civil lawsuit and may redeem 15-30% of the recovered funds under the U.S. False Claims Act. Our Whistleblower lawsuit lawyers are familiar with all statutes of limitations that govern Whistleblowers, and will make sure all claims are filed in a timely manner.
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If you are thinking of coming forward and blowing the whistle on your employer or another company, please fill out the form on our¬†Free Consultation page today! Our lawyers will evaluate your case confidentially and at no cost.
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