Investigation After Filing a Whistleblower Case

When it comes to filing a whistleblower case, the whistleblower has one advantage over everybody in the room. That is, that whistleblower usually knows more about the case and more about the facts than anyone else. They lived it. They know it. Sometimes it is hard to keep all the facts in order, and it can be difficult to know which facts pertain to which illegal activities. Still, the depth of knowledge the whistleblower will have about the facts of the case means that the whistleblower usually is able to conduct such an interview and explain the seriousness of the case. 

By working with a diligent attorney, the whistleblower can start to convince the government to pursue the case. The whistleblower might find themselves wondering what happens after filing a whistleblower case, and they can take confidence that their lawyer will have an answer. 

Corroborating Evidence

What happens after filing a whistleblower case is typically a meeting with the government. During that meeting, the government may ask what other sources of information may be available to corroborate the allegations. Whistleblowers should consider if they know of other employees, or most especially, former employees of the defendant who can corroborate their case. They may be asked if they know anything about how the defendants store data. They may be asked about their background and need to review their resume.

The vast majority of the time, the allegations involved in the case will be thoroughly vetted in the initial interview. It may or it may not be the last time the plaintiff-relator, gets to see the government officials working on the case. However, it’s difficult to tell from the meeting whether the case will the successful.  The meeting tends to be the starting off point for the government’s formal investigation.  As such the government officials charged with reviewing the case are not in a position to know everything about the case at that time.  

Duration of Investigating

The time it takes to fully investigate the claims can be frustrating for all whistleblowers. Waiting is not a lot of fun and most people are sympathetic to this plight, even government officials who have been conducting whistleblower investigations for years. There is no particularly great answer for dealing with it, it is just what happens after filing a whistleblower case. The government has to do its job and investigate the allegations. As long as the government is investigating the allegations, it is usually in the best interest of the whistleblower to simply let them do so.

Often during the course of these investigations, the government will come back for more information, for more clarification and for help with legal issues from the whistleblower and the whistleblower’s attorney. This is always exciting both because it indicates some progress in the case and interest by the government in the allegations. If nothing else, it provides the whistleblower and the attorney an opportunity to help with the investigation.   

Investigation Under Seal

There are limitations to the help a whistleblower and their lawyer are expected to give the government. An investigation belongs to the government while it is under seal. So, what happens after filing a whistleblower case is that whistleblowers are not free to contact witnesses and discuss the matter or attempt to get more information without strict approval from the government. Any such activity could be considered as interfering with their investigation or somehow detrimental to the investigation.  

The fact that the False Claims Act has been spectacularly successful, in recovering money for fraud committed against the government and is, in fact, the most powerful whistleblower law does not change how it is for whistleblowers to have to sit on the sideline and wait for the government to take action.