Will Anyone Find Out I Filed A Whistleblower Case?

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Yes, but not now.

When you file a Federal or a State False Claims Act whistleblower case, you file that case “under seal.” That means in secret. The implications of filing a sealed case are very serious. Anybody who violates it, first of all, can lose any right to collect any share of a government recovery.  You can also be subject to prosecution for interfering with a government investigation.

Do not do this.

It is rare we can make such a definitive statement, but here it is again:

Do not violate the seal.

False Claims Act Confidentiality Requirements

You and your lawyer should be aware that filing a case like this requires you to keep it confidential until the seal is lifted by the Court. So, when you file the case, the government has your information and they are obligated to keep your identity confidential as well.

However sometimes people are able to draw their own conclusions. If you are the only one in a position to know certain facts or one of a very few people, and the government has to investigate those facts, sometimes the defendants can figure out what is happening.

In addition, the government’s investigation does not last forever, so at some point the Court will unseal your case and then it does become a public matter. The investigation and the order to unseal your case takes time. If you need time to move on with your life this is something to discuss with your lawyer.

False Claims Act Whistleblower Retaliation Protections

Yes, of course, under the False Claims Act Section 3730(h) you can sue for retaliation. We certainly like to advise clients that they have the right to sue when they have suffered such retaliation.  If you have, not suffered retaliation, you may prefer (and this is putting it mildly) to avoid such a circumstance. Talk to your lawyer about this very tricky area of the law.

One more thing about anonymity. If you really want to stay anonymous you may want to see if you have a case under either the new Securities and Exchange Commission whistleblower reward law or the similar law under the Commodities Future Trading Commission.

So far there has been one collection of a few cases filed under the new S.E.C. Law and the agency and kept the person’s identity anonymous even after paying a reward to the whistleblower.

The cases involved securities fraud and the people who reported then chose to stay anonymous. The S.E.C. was honored the special provision in that law that allows for such anonymity.  You can file the case anonymously through your lawyer and eventually the S.E.C. will have to know who you are, but so far they have protected the identity of anonymous whistleblowers from the public at large.

If you have a case of securities fraud and want to remain anonymous for any number of good reasons, at least so far it appears the SEC will respect that right. Talk to your lawyer about this. It may also be possible for you to file more than one kind of case at a time.

For general information about whistleblowers and whistleblower law, visit our Whistleblower page.