If you follow the news, you’ve possibly heard about fraudulent activities that might never have been revealed without the whistleblowers who forced the issue and brought the cases. One example from September, 2016, is the qui tam suit filed against a local healthcare system for allegedly submitting false claims to Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE. Another example concerns three whistleblowers at Boeing; the qui tam false claims case filed in June, 2016, by former employees alleges that the aircraft sold to the government by Boeing did not meet FAA-approved designs.
Sometimes, though, potential whistleblowers keep their mouths shut about the fraud that they witness.
Perhaps it’s because they assume they have no chance of succeeding, believing that the system is stacked against the average worker. But sometimes those who are considering blowing the whistle hesitate because they are nervous about the process and what might happen at various stages. Most of us turn at least a little jumpy if we must deal with the court system, and it’s often because we don’t understand it. That’s why we at the Louthian Law Firm try our hardest to ease our clients’ anxieties. We explain the process from start to finish, answer any questions, and always resolve to help our clients with their case while protecting their legal rights.
Are You Thinking About Reporting Fraud?
Those who would blow the whistle where they work have a few options when it comes to reporting the fraud they have seen. They can choose to report internally only (inside their place of work), to both the government and the company, or only to the government.
A noteworthy survey conducted in 2011, the National Business Ethics Survey, discovered the following information about whistleblowing and wrongdoing at work:
- Approximately 45 percent of employees in the U.S. witnessed wrongdoing.
- Of those who witnessed wrongdoing, about 65 percent reported it.
- Of the group who witnessed wrongdoing but made the decision not to report it, 46 percent gave the reason as fear of retaliation.
Whistleblowers occasionally must deal with the threat of retaliation. Rest assured that all of the actions listed below, when taken by an employer, are strictly prohibited. Not only that, if you experience any of them, you are entitled to relief under the law:
- Being denied benefits
- Being denied overtime or a promotion
- Being disciplined without reason
- Being kept out of meetings or left off of project teams
- Being reassigned to a lesser position
- Being suspended, fired, or laid off
- Being threatened with demotion or being demoted
- Being threatened with blacklisting (the inability to find future employment in your career field) or being blacklisted
- Having hours or pay reduced
- Having a new company policy put into effect that clashes with protections for whistleblowers
- Experiencing threats or intimidation
- Experiencing harm to person or property.
Those who created the whistleblower statutes recognized that a successful whistleblower program depends upon the ability of those who witness fraud to be able to report it freely.
Is It Possible to Remain Anonymous?
This concern can be paramount in a whistleblower’s mind. Because approximately 80 percent of such cases are not joined by the Department of Justice, the whistleblower understandably wishes to remain anonymous should the case not go forward. You should know that the identity of the whistleblower is protected in many instances. With the False Claims Act, where you are dealing with certain kinds of fraud against the government—Medicare fraud, defense contracts fraud, Big Pharma fraud, or mortgage fraud—your identity will likely be protected, though there is a chance that it may eventually be revealed at certain stages in the proceedings. However, with whistleblower claims filed under the SEC or IRS regulations, you have a very good chance of remaining completely anonymous. The reason is that securities fraud and tax fraud cases are governed by different rules. They are not considered court cases. Instead, they are classified as administrative actions.
We’re Here for You
It can be stressful to do the right thing. But it can also be stressful to keep any observed wrongdoing a secret. The burdens you feel either way can be difficult to bear.
At the Louthian Law Firm, we understand these pressures and are here to help you pursue justice, whether it is personal justice, such as after an accident, or justice for the greater good, as with whistleblowing. We pledge that we will furnish you with advocacy that is confidential, highly competent, and compassionate.
Doing the Right Thing
People who consider becoming whistleblowers are frequently advised to think about the possible consequences. Despite all that, a significant number of persons have chosen over the years to walk the whistleblower’s path, with impressive results. Suits filed by whistleblowers under the federal government’s False Claims Act between 1986 and 2013 have recovered over $11 billion.
More than that, they have brought some bad actors to light and stopped them from further fraudulent activity.
While whistleblowing can be financially rewarding, it is by no means easy money.
Staying the course while on the path requires dedication and commitment from a person. We urge you to think through becoming a whistleblower should you be considering it. Then, when you decide you are prepared to pursue justice, the Louthian Law Firm will be here to help you.
Blowing the Whistle? We Can Help You with Your Next Step.
If you think you have the facts needed to bring a whistleblower case, the experienced whistleblower attorneys at the Louthian Law Firm can review your case and help you file the appropriate disclosure statement. Under some circumstances, the government will intervene, or join in your lawsuit.
Your chances of succeeding are greater if your whistleblower claim is substantive, clear, and to the point. Because of this, meeting with a qualified whistleblower attorney can increase your chances of winning. The Louthian Law Firm can help you form your claim so that the government will be more inclined to intervene in your case; government intervention can sometimes increase the chances of recovering reward money. Even if the government decides not to intervene, it could still be a good idea to pursue your case without government involvement. Our strong support system can assist you through every step of the process.
For a free, confidential evaluation of your case, call the Louthian Law Firm today at 1-803-454-1200 or, if you prefer, you can fill out our online contact form.