Our attorneys regularly field calls from Philadelphia whistleblowers with information about suspected violations of the law locally. Our lawyers evaluate these cases, as we do any other, to determine whether we can assist these individuals. Most of our website deals with the federal programs to assist and reward whistleblowers. We thought we would take the time to detail some of the local options to report fraud.
Philadelphia False Claims Act
Both Philadelphia and Allegheny County have adopted local versions prohibiting false claims against their respective city and county governments. The whistleblower law in Philly, known as the Philadelphia False Claims Act, offers rewards of between 10 and 30 percent. The City Solicitor can either commence a civil action on the basis of the information or designate a person or attorney to do so on the city’s behalf.
There is no Pennsylvania False Claims Act. Pennsylvania is currently one of the approximately twenty states which has not adopted a version of this increasingly popular law. In 2013, two Pennsylvania legislators introduced a bill, House Bill 1493, into the legislature to remedy this problem. If they had been successful, it would have increased by 10% the amount of money Pennsylvania shared in successful lawsuits to recover Medicaid Fraud. Without the law, PA does not capture the additional federal incentives offered to encourage the state to fight fraud in partnership with the federal government.
Reporting Tax Fraud
New York State offers rewards for the reporting of tax evasion against the state government. Neither Philadelphia nor Pennsylvania do.
The city’s Department of Revenue website has a form to allow individuals to report tax fraud committed against the City of Philadelphia. Similarly, evasion of Pennsylvania taxes can be reported to the state via an online form. Neither the state or city will pay a reward for information that successfully leads to the recovery of underpayments. Both organizations do allow anonymous reporting.
The PA Whistleblower Retaliation Law
Pennsylvania, unfortunately, only protects public employees suffering retaliation via its whistleblower law. The law, which can be found at 43 P.S. § 1421, defines an employee as a person who performs services for wages or other remuneration under a contract for a public body.
Individuals working for private companies must base their claim for retaliation protection in either a local law (such as the False Claims Act in Philly or Allegheny County) or one of the federal laws (Dodd-Frank or the Federal False Claims Act, for example). These laws protect individuals who are terminated or otherwise retaliated against by their employer as whistleblowers.