Why Do Whistleblowers Get Negative Press?

The following is taken from an interview with Whistleblower lawyer Tony Munter, as he explains common misconceptions regarding whistleblowers. To learn more about whistleblowing or to discuss your case schedule a free consultation today.

Why Do You Think That Some Whistleblowers Are Called Greedy?

Well there have been some successful cases recently and some large awards to Whistleblowers and that tends to get a lot of press attention. Certainly defendants are not excited about paying money and not excited about paying money to Whistleblowers.

The Justice Department is usually happy to award Whistleblowers but understandably they want to take credit in the press for the job that they do to win the cases. So that leaves a lot of room for those who are unhappy with paying for the fraud that is being committed to attack Whistleblowers and call them greedy and  attempt I think to muddy the waters a bit. There have been attacks on the False Claims Act because it has been so successful in fighting fraud.

Whistleblowers get awarded money and the easiest thing to do is to smear them with an attack that they are all greedy or something. I don’t think that really should be the issue. The law was created by the Congress to provide monetary incentives to Whistleblowers. The rewards are basd on the action. It’s a reward for people to take the action of blowing the whistle and that is really what is important about the Whistleblower rewards.

I think what bothers me about all this is nobody seems to be outraged at the greed of the Defendant. Nobody seems to say, “Well the contractor was greedy” but I mean of course the contractor or the defendant, the one who is guilty of ripping off the government that is the person that is doing something wrong for money. If you are committing fraud against the government you are the greedy party. The person coming forward and risking their career and attempting to set things right, that person is not greedy. That person is doing the right thing and deserves an award.

Why Should Companies Support The False Claims Act?

Well this is my personal belief. There are a lot of efforts by various organizations to attack the False Claims Act because big companies, some big companies I think see it as a threat but the fact of the matter is that most companies that do business with the government I think do it fairly enough honestly.

The False Claims Act doesn’t prosecute companies for doing a bad job on a particular day. The False Claims Act is only going to work as a case if the company is really going out of its way to rip off the government. I think most companies that want to compete on a level playing field would want companies that go out of their way to rip off the government not to be their competitors. It is hard to compete with a company that can get away with ripping off the government and not providing services and not providing goods. I mean how is a company that is doing business honestly supposed to compete with a company that has the advantage of cheating the government. So I must say I don’t understand why more companies most of which as I say do business with the government I think do it honorably wouldn’t support the False Claims Act.

Why do they want some competitor out there who can beat them in a contract simply by cheating?

Why Would You Say That Whistleblowers Are Heroes?

Well I think it takes some level of independent, moral belief to come forward and protest when something is wrong. I don’t think that is an easy thing to do. Obviously for many Whistleblowers there are some serious professional consequences but it takes some belief in right and wrong and some understanding as to what is right and what is wrong to come forward and usually you’ve got to take on the culture where you work and disagree with it and make your own independent decisions that what is going on should not be tolerated and that is a heroic act to do. It shouldn’t be taken lightly I would add. It is a heroic thing to do and I am always struck by how difficult it can be just to make the decision to do it. So I consider Whistleblowers to be heroes.