Options For Whistleblowers

Below, whistleblower attorney Tony Munter dispels some common myths about being a whistleblower including whether a case can be filed by government employees and how commonly these types of cases are filed. If you believe you may have a whistleblower case call today and schedule a consultation.

One common question is: “Do I need to file a whistleblower claim if I want a company to stop committing fraud?”

Well, there may be other things you can do, but the first thing you need to do is be sure whether or not you have a False Claims Act case. And the reason for that is that it’s probably the best whistleblower law out there. I think its true that if you have a strong case, the most likely action the government can take to stop a company from committing fraudulent action is to file a False Claims Act case.

In my experience at least, the government doesn’t always agree and doesn’t always take False Claims Act cases, but they do investigate them very seriously. So if you have a serious situation in which fraud is being committed and you want the government to pay attention to it, the False Claims Act is probably the most appropriate way to deal with the matter.

And, if you don’t file a False Claims Act case and you take some other kind of action and the government collects a lot of money, it might be too late for you to obtain an award that you otherwise would have deserved. So, it’s at least worth being sure whether or not you have such a case before you take action.

Federal Government Employees

Federal government employees can be a False Claims Act whistleblower. There are some jurisdictions that make it more difficult to collect rewards as a federal government employee whistleblower than others. There are instances where service personnel cannot be whistleblowers if it’s related to their military action only, but other than that, yes, federal government employees can be whistleblowers.

I should point out that not only can they be whistleblowers, but they can get an award in some cases under the False Claims Act.

Are Whistleblower Cases Filed Commonly or Are They Rare?

You know to hear the defense bar talk about it, these cases are filed every two minutes. The fact of the matter is under the False Claims Act, there are more cases now than there were years ago when I started, but it’s still only 750 some cases a year that are filed under the Federal False Claims Act.

And you know this a country of 330 million people, so two cases a day under the Federal False Claims Act with regard to fraud committed against the federal government still doesn’t seem like a huge number of cases to me personally. I don’t think it’s that many.

On the other hand, there have been a lot of whistleblower complaints filed thousands with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the new whistleblower reward laws for them and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.

There are still not a lot of actual cases that have resulted in tips to those agencies. So, I would say no, I really don’t think there are that many cases out there. And I think that the amount of fraud that’s committed against the government in particular is still far greater than the amount of False Claims Act cases that are filed to combat them.