U.S. Whistleblower Laws and Rewards

The U.S. Government offers financial rewards to whistleblowers reporting violations of the False Claims Act, the tax code, the securities laws and numerous other laws.  As a result, the U.S. Government receives tips about health care fraud, mortgage fraud, tax evasion and other violations of federal law regularly.  During President Obama’s administration, the federal government paid out more than $4 billion to whistleblowers.

The U.S. also offers whistleblower protections against retaliation to certain employees through anti-retaliation lawsuits.  Certain states have also adopted laws to protect individuals blowing the whistle on misconduct from retaliation.  As a result of the numerous and complex laws in this field, a whistleblower attorney can be crucial to avoid missed deadlines and other obstacles to an award and monetary compensation.

We have written extensively about federal and state whistleblower laws, including the False Claims Act, Anti-Kickback Statute, Dodd-Frank Act, the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act, FIRREA, the New York State False Claims Act and section 7623(b) of the Internal Revenue Code, here on our website.

For a free and confidential legal consultation with one of our whistleblower attorneys, please call 1-800-590-4116.

Learn more about the key whistleblower laws:

HEALTH CARE FRAUD

The U.S. Government finances billions of dollars of medical treatments every year through Medicare, Medicaid and various other federal health care programs.  The False Claims Act allows health care industry whistleblowers to report evidence of fraudulent claims for payment under these federal programs.

The law, strengthened in 1986, has helped the U.S. Government recover billions in improper payments through qui tam lawsuits.  Hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, nursing homes, pharmaceutical manufacturers and medical device companies, to name a few, have all paid money back to the U.S. Government following allegations brought by whistleblowers that they violated the False Claims Act.  The law has been called the most effective law in the fight against fraud in the United States by Senator Chuck Grassley, a champion of whistleblowers.

There have been too many different forms of Medicare fraud and other violations of the law in the healthcare industry to list all of them here.  One of the more common examples right now is payments to doctors and other medical professionals as kickbacks for the prescribing of the drugs of pharmaceutical companies or the use of medical devices by their manufacturers.  These kickbacks often take place in the form of “fake” speaker programs where little to no education goes on and they are just a pretext setup by a sales rep for the company to pay the doctor, allegedly as a speaker.  Other violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Law are frequently brought up by relators, as the whistleblowers in this area are known.  These allegations are brought up by a number of different health care whistleblowers with evidence of misconduct.

GOVERNMENT CONTRACT / PROCUREMENT FRAUD

Unscrupulous government contractors may take advantage of the government throughout the purchasing process: from misrepresentations in the bidding process, to the delivery of defective merchandise, to improper overbilling on a time and materials contract.  Like health care fraud, the False Claims Act offers monetary rewards to whistleblowers who report these frauds to the Department of Justice through a qui tam lawsuit.

SECURITIES AND COMMODITIES FRAUD

Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010 to reform Wall Street in light of the events from 2007 to 2009.  Among the changes made was the creation of the SEC and CFTC whistleblower programs.  These programs offer monetary incentives for tips that lead to successful enforcement actions over $1 million for the violation of the Securities Act, the Securities Exchange Act, the Investment Advisers Act, the Commodities Exchange Act, and other federal securities laws.

TAX EVASION

Congress strengthened the Internal Revenue Service program to pay whistleblowers when it created the mandatory tax whistleblower program in section 7623(b) of the Internal Revenue Code.  IRS whistleblowers are eligible for rewards of between 15 and 30 percent under the bounty program.  McEldrew Young partner Eric L. Young represented the first individual to receive a reward under this program.  The largest award for a tax whistleblower, $104 million, involved a report of a bank aiding offshore tax evasion.

AUTO WHISTLEBLOWERS

Congress passed the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act in 2015 as part of the FAST Act to offer rewards of 10 to 30 percent to auto industry employees who report delayed recalls of motor vehicles and other serious safety issues.  These whistleblowers are protected from retaliation by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).

INTERNATIONAL WHISTLEBLOWERS

Foreign employees and businesses with ties to companies based in the United States or publicly traded on a U.S. exchange are increasingly blowing the whistle on misconduct happening abroad when it implicates a law enforced by the U.S. Government.  If you have evidence of a violation of U.S. law happening overseas, we welcome you to contact us for a free and confidential case evaluation.

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Overseas conduct is regulated by the United States in a number of different ways.  Violations of the the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), anti-money laundering (AML) violations, FATCA reporting of overseas income and assets could all be potential subjects of a whistleblower tip.  Poor drug quality from manufacturing plants , fraudulent statements on customs forms, misleading “made in the USA” labels on products sold to the U.S. Government and offshore tax evasion are some additional ways that overseas conduct might violate a U.S. law.

RETALIATION PROTECTIONS

There are various state, federal and local laws offering whistleblowers anti-retaliation protections.  Some of these laws are contained in reward programs, such as Dodd-Frank and the False Claims Act.  Others, such as the SOX whistleblower protections, stand alone.  These laws do not protect all individuals who are penalized by their employer.  It is important to speak to an attorney before you report misconduct to ensure that you are protected.  If you have already faced retaliation, please contact one of our attorneys to discuss whether you may file a retaliation lawsuit under a whistleblower law to seek compensation for your injuries.

OUR WHISTLEBLOWER PRACTICE

We represent a number of whistleblowers providing information to the government about violations of the law.  Our knowledge and industry expertise runs the gamut from complex cases of Medicare fraud to highly technical tax and securities law violations.  Most recently, we represented a group of whistleblowers in the government’s recovery under the False Claims Act of $54 million because of the payment of kickbacks through the pharmaceutical company’s speaker programs.  Eric Young, the head of our whistleblower law practice, is also widely recognized and quoted in the media on whistleblower issues.  For additional information about our practice and past experience, please click here.

WHISTLEBLOWER LAW COMMENTARY

We regularly conduct educational programs on whistleblower issues and are asked for comments by the media on these matters.  For a longer list of commentary, programs and cases, view our news page.  For recent commentary and programs, see below:

The SEC’s Enforcement Actions on Anti-Whistleblower Employment Agreements Explored, The Knowledge Group, March 9, 2017

The IRS Pays Whistleblowers to Turn in Tax-Evaders, Yahoo Finance, February 24, 2017

Eric Young on the New Auto Safety Whistleblower Bounty Law, Corporate Crime Reporter, January 17, 2017

Whistle-blower Guidance Highlighted in IESBA Ethics Code, Pennsylvania CPA Journal, Winter 2017

For Additional Information About Reporting Corporate Misconduct:

False Claims Act
For fraud involving Medicare, Medicaid, Government Contracts, or Mortgages.

SEC
For investor fraud, trading violations, FCPA violations and other violations of securities laws.

CFTC
If you are reporting commodities, FOREX or derivatives fraud involving the Commodity Exchange Act.

IRS
If you are reporting tax evasion worth more than $2 million by a company or high net worth individual

NHTSA
For auto industry employee reporting of defective motor vehicles and delayed recalls.

Ocean Dumping
For reporting illegal ocean dumping of oily substances under the APPS.

Insurance Fraud
For reporting large schemes of insurance fraud in the states of California or Illinois.

Whistleblower News

IRS Whistleblower Retaliation Protections Proposed in Senate

Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden have proposed the IRS Whistleblower Improvements Act of 2017 in the U.S. Senate today.  If adopted, the law...

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