Can a whistleblower with unclean hands get a reward?
If you have participated in the conduct that you wish to report to the U.S. Government, or otherwise have unclean hands, your decision to become a whistleblower can expose you personally to criminal or civil liability. Whether you are were central to implementation or simply a low level participant, you will need to consult with an attorney about the potential implications of your involvement and carefully approach the government to determine whether they are interested in prosecuting a person in your role.
Can a company be a whistleblower?
Yes, the False Claims Act allows it. The IRS, SEC, and CFTC programs do not allow companies to receive rewards. The Federal False Claims Act allows both individuals and entities to serve as relator and bring a civil action. It permits “a person” to bring a civil action under the statute. The False Claims Act does not define the term person explicitly.
Why would a company act as a whistleblower?
In some instances, an individual or group of individuals will create an entity in order to protect their privacy and file the qui tam lawsuit under that name. This is not prohibited by the False Claims Act, but there are instances when it is frowned upon. There are other occasions when it makes more sense for a corporation to file instead of an individual. Competitors, customers and consultants can also discover fraud. In many of these cases, it makes more sense to have the company act as the relator. We would be happy to discuss specifics with you if you contact us.
Can accountants be whistleblowers?
Yes, accountants can receive an award as a whistleblower under the IRS program. Accounting fraud has been at the center of some of the nation’s largest financial and business controversies. They do not have any special internal reporting requirements. However, there are two restrictions on their ability to submit information and earn a reward. A whistleblower cannot submit information about a taxpayer and be the taxpayer’s representative in a pending administrative matter or in litigation where the IRS has an interest.
I’ve already been helping the government. Can I still get a reward as a whistleblower?
In many cases, a whistleblower is still able to qualify for a reward even if they have already been helping the government. However, there are several reasons why you might no longer qualify. We would be happy to discuss your specific situation if you contact us
What is extortion?
Extortion happens when a person obtains money or property by wrongful force or threat. It generally includes instances where you threaten to accuse another of a crime. There is a lot of grey area regarding what constitutes extortion though, as state statutes may define the crime differently. This makes it very dangerous to threat to go to the authorities, the public, or the media with information about a violation of the law.