Whistleblowers: Helping to Weed Out Fraud
The term whistleblower often conjures up negative images. However, the truth of the matter is that whistleblowers are good for the country as they help to weed out fraud against the government – fraud, which if not discovered, ends up coming out of taxpayers’ pockets.
$9.3 billion recovered over 10 years
Whistleblowers help the government recover millions of dollars each year by reporting fraudulent activity. In fact, according to U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), $9.3 billion (that’s billion with a ‘b’…) was recovered over the 10 year period from 1996 to 2005. Divide that number by the 300 million people in the United States and that averages over $30 per person.
Whistleblowers are rewarded – and protected
Whistleblowers are both rewarded for their courage of coming forward to expose fraudulent activity against the government and are also protected from retaliation from employers. Here’s how:
- Rewarded.Whistleblowers are rewarded for their efforts by receiving a substantial percentage of the amounts recovered – generally between 15 and 25 percent. Since most whistleblower cases involve millions of dollars, those rewards can be very large. For example, if $50 million is recovered, the whistleblower will receive anywhere from $7.5 million (at 15%) to $12.5 million (at 25%).
While the $50 million figure is only used as a point of reference, that is the average recovery for whistleblower cases in the healthcare industry, according to the DOJ. However, consider this: $920 million was recovered in a whistleblower case in 2006. We’ll let you calculate the whistleblower’s share on that one…
- Protected. Whistleblowers are protected from employer retaliation – and that protection is serious. The False Claims Act, which is the whistleblower statute, has its own anti-retaliation language which severely penalizes employers from making adverse employment decisions based on the fact that an employee exposed the fraud.
If you’ve experienced fraudulent activity against the government, contact an experienced whistleblower attorney to discuss your situation. Consultations are strictly confidential and are free of charge and without any obligation. To contact an attorney, please click here.