Whistleblowers are individuals who expose misconduct or alleged dishonest or illegal activity occurring within an organization, business, or corporation. Whistleblowers are employees with knowledge of illegal acts by the employer including fraud, health and safety violations, corruption, violation of regulations or laws that are a threat to others or the public.
What does “QUI TAM” mean? The basis for “qui tam” lawsuits began under President Abraham Lincoln. In essence, it allows a taxpayer to sue a company for stealing tax dollars — and to receive a financial reward for exposing the fraud.
Many times these dangers to public health and safety, misconduct, and fraud go unreported because people are afraid of exposing them to the authorities due to the potential of receiving retaliation from those being exposed.
The majority of whistleblower cases are about stopping corruption. Healthcare fraud accounts for approximately $242 billion a year, and tax dollars are routinely wasted or embezzled. The law provides for the whistleblower to receive a reward of 15% to 30% of the amount of the fraud—but only if very specific procedures are followed. The first step is to meet with an attorney to discuss the fraud during a confidential office visit. If the attorney files a complaint in the federal court, that complaint will be filed under seal, meaning it won’t be visible to anyone except the federal judge and the federal prosecutors. This could be important if you learned about the fraud through your job. Keeping the complaint secret could protect you from retaliation. However, if you lose your job or other forms of retaliation for exposing federal fraud, or complaining about any illegal activity, that can result in a second part of the lawsuit to help you recover even more money as damages.
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Many whistleblowers have been compensated for exposing fraud.