Whistleblower Protection Attorneys in Raleigh-Durham
If you discover that a company is cheating the U.S. government, you should consult with a whistleblower attorney to see if you may be able to bring what is called a “qui tam” case. When a person or company is defrauding the government, they are defrauding the taxpayers and it hurts all of us. The cases are called “qui tam” because they are brought by individuals for the government as well as themselves. People who bring these claims are called whistleblowers because they reveal fraudulent activity that otherwise would not be brought to light.
The federal law that covers most of these cases is called the False Claims Act. Many states also have their own False Claims Acts. North Carolina has a False Claim Act, which applies if you find that someone is cheating our state out of taxpayer dollars. There are also federal and state laws that protect some whistleblowers who discover fraud on the job.
If you think that you have discovered fraud against the government, it is crucial that you call a whistleblower lawyer right away. The next steps you take are very important and sensitive and it’s important that you get it right. An experienced whistleblower attorney can tell you if you potentially have a case, and can talk with you about how to preserve the claim. When you do talk to the attorney, make sure you show her all the documentation that you can gather.
A whistleblower claims attorney will file a qui tam case “under seal” at first, so the public does not know about the case, and the whistleblower’s identity remains anonymous. The government will investigate the whistleblower’s claims. If the government finds that there was fraud committed, the government’s lawyers can decide whether to join in the lawsuit and pursue it individually. State whistleblower claims have a different procedure.
The penalties against people or businesses that commit fraud against the federal government are severe. Those who are found to have committed fraud will have to pay the government and the individual “treble,” or triple, damages plus attorneys’ fees and costs. As an incentive to bring the claims, the whistleblower typically recovers 15-25% of the total recovery as well as his or her attorney fees and costs for bringing the case.
Types of whistleblower claims
A whistleblower claim exists anytime a person or business submits a false claim to the government in order to get a payment from the government. Most of the time the companies committing fraud do it on a grand scale. They submit fraudulent charges to the government over and over, so that even the smallest charges add up.
Some of the most common types of fraud against the government are:
- Medicare and Medicaid Fraud
- Defense Contracting Fraud
- Pharmaceutical Fraud
- Financial Industry Fraud
- Construction and Procurement Fraud
- Disaster Relief Fraud
- Research Fraud
- Health and Safety Hazards Fraud
- Wildlife Fraud
- Environmental Fraud
- Political Corruption Fraud
- School Funding Fraud
There is also private whistleblowing when an employee internally reports fraud, sexual harassment, sexual assault, corruption, discrimination, or other misconduct. Our whistleblower attorneys have represented and advised many clients who have reported misconduct internally to someone in their company. It is against the law to retaliate against someone for reporting sex, race, or religious discrimination in a company with more than 15 employees. It is also illegal to retaliate against someone who reported fraud in a company that is publicly traded. We help these individuals file a lawsuit if necessary and negotiate agreements with the employer to protect their reputations and prospects for future employment.
There are helpful resources for whistleblowers. For nearly thirty years, the National Whistleblower Center has advocated for and protected individuals who report wrongdoing from retaliation. The National Whistleblower Center publishes The Whistleblower’s Handbook and has a list of general FAQs as well as FAQs specific to certain types of fraud.
Please contact us if you are aware of fraud against the government
If you are aware of or suspect fraud against the government, our whistleblower lawyers are here to help. Our lawyers have helped other whistleblowers report government fraud and hold the businesses and individuals who have committed the fraud accountable. We can file a lawsuit on your behalf and coordinate with the government lawyers who will determine whether the government should get involved. We will maintain your confidentiality and anonymity while the government investigates. It can be difficult to have the courage to report fraud and misconduct, but ultimately, it is the right thing to do.