Process of a Whistleblower Case

If you have information that the government is being defrauded, that information is very valuable and is therefore something you should discuss with a whistleblower attorney in order to see if you can in fact file a claim under the False Claims Act. If you and your attorney then decide that you can file a case under the False Claims Act you will need to attempt and provide the information that you have to the government.

The next step is filing a complaint in court which sets in motion the gears of the Department of Justice to investigate your allegations. This is how a whistleblower case begins.

Speaking With An Attorney

One important thing to consider when filing a case under the False Claims Act is the communication with your attorney. It is necessary to discuss your case and all the details with your attorney but also keep it confidential. These cases are filed under seal of court and it’s therefore difficult for many whistleblowers who may want to go to the press and make as much of a public issue of the allegations that they have discovered as possible. While the case is initially filed and being investigated by the Department of Justice it’s not a good thing to go public. This can be difficult to live with and is something that whistleblowers should keep in mind that they’re going to have to find a way to live with the facts of this and only to talk with their lawyer about it for a long time.

Choosing The Whistleblower Laws For Your Case

It’s not unheard of to be able to file under more than one law but the facts dictate which law is applicable. Obviously if it’s tax fraud and only tax fraud you file with the IRS Whistleblower office, if it’s a Securities and Exchange Commission violation, a violation to securities or that kind of thing you would file with the SEC Whistleblower office. So it’s a question of what laws have been broken, what money is at stake that you have to talk over with your lawyer to determine if there’s a law that applies to the type of case you want to bring.

Well, for information about the government being defrauded there’s really the Federal False Claims Act and in some 30 states now there is a State False Claims Act. There’s a bit of an asterisk to the state laws in that some but not all states allow for any type of fraud to create a case. If from DC, the DC False Claims Act says you can file for any type of fraud committed against DC virtually. Not every state’s law is like that, many states limit the liability under their False Claims Act to defendants who’ve defrauded healthcare programs. But there are now 30 such laws or so in the states, there’s a couple of municipalities that have laws as well. So chances are that if you seen a government defrauded somewhere in the United States you have at least the potential for filing a case.

Hearings in Whistleblower Cases

 

Initially if you file a False Claims Act case, for example you set the Department of Justice in motion to investigate your allegations, there’s a high likelihood that you will meet with representatives of the government to discuss your allegations. It’s not a hearing in the sense of a formal proceeding. But it is a serious meeting and one in which officials of the government will question you about your allegations and try to figure out as much as they can about the types of case you’re filing.  It’s a very serious meeting of course even though it is not technically a formal proceeding.

Myths About the Whistle Blowing Process

Because there’s been some high profile successes everybody thinks it’s a relatively easy process. That’s one misconception. It’s certainly a doable process, but it’s a serious endeavor. The other pretty serious misconception there’s relatively limited types of cases that are applicable.

If you’ve got tax fraud, yes, you can go to the IRS Whistleblower office but to make it worth anything you need a relatively high amount of money involved.

If you’ve got securities fraud, yes, you can go to the SEC Whistleblower office.

If you want to file a False Claims Act case the government has to be the victim.

There is also a misconception people see the term False Claim and they think that something the government has done wrong is something that they can sue about. They can’t, the government has to be the victim of the fraud and that we run into that quite a bit with people thinking that they can sue the government under the False Claims Act.