SEC Whistleblower Representation/False Claims-Qui Tam

Confidentially report corporate fraud and misconduct - and know your rights and protections.

There has never been a better time to come forward and report corporate fraud and misconduct.   Recent government reforms and consumer protection acts have been signed into law that serve to both protect whistleblowers from retaliation and reward them for their courage.  Whistleblowers are often entitled to a portion of any fine or recovery obtained by the government and can now benefit from substantial financial incentives – between 10-30% of monetary sanctions collected – for providing original information to the Securities Exchange Commission. 

Once a whistleblower decides to come forward and report corporate wrongdoing, it is vital that they retain a law firm with the resources to properly present their information to the government and, if necessary, enforce anti-retaliation laws.  Recent reports in the media  of instances where the government has inadvertently released or made known the identity of whistleblowers make clear the need for potential whistleblowers to retain proper counsel to ensure they are protected.

If you have knowledge of corporate misconduct, a violation of the federal securities laws, or a possible false claims act violation, you can share your concerns in a confidential manner and explore your legal options for compensation by contacting Blair Nicholas (blairn@blbglaw.com) or Gerald Silk (jerry@blbglaw.com) at 1-800-380-8496 .

SEC Whistleblower Program

On July 21, 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“the Act”) was signed into law. The Act enhanced the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) whistleblower program by providing whistleblower awards payable by the SEC to those who provide the SEC with information concerning violations of the federal securities laws. As noted above, the award paid can range between 10% and 30% of the total “monetary sanctions” imposed or collected from a successful action.

The new law enables the SEC to pay an award to those who provide the SEC with “original information” about a violation of the federal securities laws, as well as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. “Original information” refers to information that is unknown to the SEC and derived from the whistleblower’s independent knowledge or analysis. The Act defines a “whistleblower” as any individual, or group of individuals (i.e., two or more), who provides information relating to a violation of the securities laws to the SEC, in a manner established by rule or regulation by the SEC.

The Act also strengthens the whistleblower protection provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the False Claims Act, and provides for a reward to a whistleblower who provides information to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The Act expressly prohibits retaliation by employers against individuals who become whistleblowers under SEC rules. It provides them with a private cause of action in the event that they are discharged or discriminated against by their employers in violation of the Act. Such an action may be brought in federal court and remedies include reinstatement, double back pay with interest, litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney’s fees.

The False Claims Act – qui tam cases

Under the False Claims Act, those who knowingly submit, or cause another person or entity to submit, false claims for payment of government funds are liable for three times the government's damages plus civil penalties.

The False Claims Act contains qui tam, or “whistleblower," provisions, which allow citizens with evidence of fraud concerning government contracts and programs to sue on behalf of the government in order to recover stolen funds. In compensation for the risk and effort of filing a qui tam case, the citizen whistleblower or "relator" may be awarded a portion of the funds recovered. One such relator received $126 million from the U.S. government.

In general, the False Claims Act covers fraud involving any federally funded contract or program, with the exception of tax fraud. Types of fraud that fall under the False Claims Act include:

  • Medicare and Medicaid Fraud
  • Nursing Home Fraud
  • Defense Contractor Fraud
  • Federal Government Contractor Fraud
  • Fraudulent Loans and Grants

Anyone who possesses inside knowledge about a fraud against the government can file a claim as a relator. Successful false claims act cases have been brought by many types of professionals -- defense contractors, research scientists, doctors, as well as nurses and other medical professionals.

Cases can be brought for overbilling the government for goods or services, for billing for goods or services not provided, for preparing a false record or false statement in order to get a fraudulent claim paid, for making a false statement to avoid paying a debt to the government, for falsifying research results, and for manipulating billing procedures in order to overcharge the government, among other scenarios.  

You can share your concerns in a confidential manner and explore your legal options for compensation by contacting  Blair Nicholas (blairn@blbglaw.com) or Gerald Silk (jerry@blbglaw.com) at 1-800-380-8496 .

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