It takes great courage to help expose fraud and corruption. At Cutter Law P.C., serving Sacramento and Oakland, we are honoured to represent the individuals brave enough to come forward to help make things right. The courageous men and women who act as whistleblowers do so at personal and professional risk, and we understand how complicated it is to make the difficult decision to come forward.
If you have direct knowledge and proof that your employer is defrauding the local, state or federal government, please give us a call today. Our experienced attorneys can provide you with the protection and aggressive representation you need to ensure your rights are respected and you receive the compensation you are entitled to for exposing wrongdoing.
What is a Whistleblower?
A whistleblower is an individual who comes forward with direct knowledge about and proof of illegal activities on the part of a person or organization. That wrongdoing can occur in a variety of ways and can include acts against employees, the public, the environment or the government. Among types of whistleblower claims:
Illegally billing the US government for services
Qui Tam Whistleblower Claims
The US government faces a massive amount of fraud, costing American taxpayers countless dollars each year. The US Government Accountability Office estimated that in 2017, improper Medicare payments alone reached approximately $52 billion. That is why qui tam whistleblowers are so vital to ensuring the integrity of various government programs.
A qui tam lawsuit occurs when a whistleblower files a claim against the offending party on behalf of the government. The person who acts as the whistleblower—usually, but not always a current or former employee of the company or individual committing the fraud—has direct knowledge of fraud and comes forward under the False Claims Act.
The claim is initially sealed from public knowledge, allowing the government time to investigate and confirm or dismiss the allegations. If the government declines to intervene in a case, the whistleblower has the option of pursuing their own case.
If the alleged claims are found to have merit, the government brings suit against the wrongdoer (known as intervening), and the whistleblower is entitled to a percentage of any money recovered, including penalties and fines. This percentage typically ranges between 15 and 25 percent of the recovery. If the government does not intervene and the whistleblower (known as the relator) is successful in their own lawsuit, the whistleblower can receive between 25 and 30 percent of the money recovered.
A common example of a qui tam claim is when a nurse or another staff member has evidence that a nursing home is charging Medicare for treatment and/or services that a patient is not actually receiving. In this circumstance, the whistleblower can file a claim under the FCA (False Claims Act).
False Claims Act
Under the False Claims Act, a person or organization violates the law by knowingly submitting or causing the submission of a false claim to the government.
Qui tam whistleblowers file their claims against the defrauding party or parties under the federal False Claims Act, which sets out protections for the whistleblower, recovery and awards the whistleblower is eligible for, and any activities that bar the whistleblower from recovering an award, such as that another qui tam lawsuit involving the same lawsuit has already been filed.
Individuals are protected against whistleblower retaliation such as wrongful termination, harassment or demotion by the False Claims Act. Certain states, like California, have similar whistleblower protection acts or regulations.
Don’t Give Away Your Right To A Percentage Of Money Recovered!
Given that the first person to report the fraud is the person who will receive a percentage of the money recovered, it’s important that you don’t share your knowledge with anyone else before obtaining legal counsel.
Free Consultation: Contact An Experienced California Whistleblower Attorney
Our whistleblower attorneys have successfully represented clients throughout California and nationwide in qui tam and whistleblower lawsuits. We are a contingency-based firm, meaning that if we accept your case, there is never a fee unless we win a monetary recovery.
Whistleblower lawsuits are often complex and require in-depth knowledge of numerous whistleblower laws and industries. A medical whistleblower, for example, needs an attorney who is extensively experienced in both whistleblowing and medical claims.
At Cutter Law, our highly respected attorneys in Sacramento and Oakland have fought tirelessly for clients involved in whistleblowing, medical negligence claims, employment and other whistleblower-related claims. We are uniquely skilled and qualified to take on and investigate whistleblower allegations and will build the strongest case possible to ensure wrongdoers are held accountable for their actions and you receive the compensation you are entitled to. The attorneys at our whistleblower law firm will also fight to protect you from any whistleblower retaliation and ensure you are compensated in case you experience any illegal consequences as a result of coming forward.
For a free, confidential no-obligation consultation, give us a call in Sacramento or Oakland at 888-285-3333.
Sacramento Business Journal (11.7.14): Sacramento law firm, U.S. Attorney win settlement in whistleblower case
Sacramento Business Journal (9.19.14): Local law firm announces national settlement with Medtronic over doctor payments
Press Release (9.19.14): Announcement: Medtronic Has Settled False Claims Act Claims with 46 States