Doing your patriotic duty by exposing institutions and individuals that have cheated the government can be unnerving. Many whistleblowers potentially face severe retaliation because they are exposing information that could cause those who have committed fraud to face prison time and ruined reputations, pay back three times the amount of money obtained fraudulently, and force their company to close, or go bankrupt.

There is a lot at stake for all parties involved. That is why the federal government offers employees who blow the whistle protections under the federal False Claims Act.

But whistleblowers have not always been protected by a strengthened federal False Claims Act, like that of today.

“We have decades of data showing that the government cannot stop fraud by itself. Hence the importance of whistleblowers. Hence the importance of the False Claims Act.”

— Senator Chuck Grassley (Author of the 1986 False Claims Act Amendments)

The current federal False Claims Act states that any employee who is discharged, demoted, harassed, or discriminated against because they filed a whistleblower/qui tam claim is entitled to be “made whole.” This includes but is not limited to:

  • Reinstatement to the same seniority employment status
  • Up to twice the amount of their back pay, plus interest
  • Compensation for any special damages including litigation costs and reasonable attorney’s fees

It also affords the whistleblower (referred to as the “relator” in a qui tam suit) to receive from 15% to 30% of what the government recovers.

Having an experienced whistleblower/qui tam attorney can potentially increase your False Claims Act protections.

Retaliation Whistleblowers May Experience

While the False Claims Act affords the whistleblower many protections, sometimes that protection comes after the fact.

Sherron Watkins never dreamed she would need a whistleblower attorney when, as vice president at Enron, a U.S. energy-trading and utilities company and America’s 7th largest corporation at the time (2001), she witnessed rampant accounting fraud and dutifully reported it to superiors. She naively thought they would “right the ship.” But after reporting the fraud, Watkins was fired and her reputation tarnished. Eventually 5,000 employees lost their jobs three weeks before Christmas as Enron imploded in bankruptcy without ever reporting a losing quarter. An astounding $2.1 billion in Enron retirement money went down with the ship.

Watkins shared on what she experienced: “I went through what typical whistleblowers go through. The isolation, the removal of your job responsibilities, the pariah treatment where friends just don’t want to be in the same room with you…”

Watkins’ case was among the more notable corporate whistleblower cases in recent history. There are hundreds more who blow the whistle and escape national notoriety. In 2018, 645 qui tam whistleblower cases were filed.

Will Kramer was an occupational health and safety consultant when he documented deeply disturbing conditions and improper handling of hazardous waste at several plants that recondition industrial plastic containers and steel drums.

Plant employees had been suffering injuries, and nearby residents had been reporting unusual sicknesses. Even an EPA investigator called to one of the plants to examine the situation became ill during an onsite investigation.

When Kramer decided to blow the whistle, he knew he would likely have to change careers – that he might not be welcomed back to work in that industry. He eventually left his consulting career in pursuit of a legal career as an attorney.

NC Whistleblower/Qui Tam Attorneys. Let’s Talk.

Whistleblowers have confided that it is not easy to come forward despite federal protections and the potential for significant rewards.

If you suspect fraud against the federal or state government, let’s talk. We are here to help put you at ease as we try to help you determine — confidentially and discreetly — if you should move forward with a whistleblower/qui tam claim. We appreciate the struggle you may be facing. That is why we have a You-First policy in place. We will try to help protect you regardless of your involvement.

Contact us or call 1-844-520-2889.

If we decide to take your case and you don’t get a reward for reporting fraud, you owe us nothing.

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