Whistleblower Lawyers

The United States government offers financial incentives to whistleblowers who report violations of the False Claims Act, the Internal Revenue Code, the Securities Exchange Act, the Commodity Exchange Act and various other laws.  The federal government relies on whistleblowers to provide information involving any type of fraudulent use of public funds in areas as diverse as: 

  • Health care (including COVID-19 fraud)
  • Government contracting (including defense contracts)
  • Banking, finance, SBA loans, and mortgages 
  • Securities and commodities (including cybersecurity violations)
  • Custom duties and tariffs
  • Tax evasion
  • Automobile defects and safety violations (including EWR violations)

“In Fiscal Year 2019, the Department of Justice recovered more than $3 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving fraud and false claims against the United States”

The False Claims Act provides protections against retaliation to certain categories of employees who report fraud involving their employer.  A number of states have adopted similar laws to protect whistleblowers.  Due to the numerous and complex laws in this specialized field, a whistleblower attorney can be crucial in helping to avoid the many pitfalls that could compromise the ability of a whistleblower to receive a reward.

Eric L. Young

Eric L. Young has spent most of his legal career successfully combating corporate fraud and misconduct.  He has represented clients at every level of the workforce, from corporate executives to blue collar employees.  As one of the nation’s leading whistleblower attorneys, Eric manages McEldrew Young Purtell’s whistleblower practice and represents individuals who seek experienced counsel when they contemplate reporting fraud and misconduct.

Whistleblower Laws in the United States

The United States has some of the most comprehensive whistleblower laws in in the world.  The federal government offers financial rewards to eligible individuals who provide original information involving fraud against the government.  In many instances, employees who report fraud involving their company are protected by the anti-retaliation provisions of the False Claims Act.  Depending on the circumstances, employees who report the misconduct of their employers may also be eligible for protection under a number of other federal and state laws. 

There are a number of laws that are relevant to whistleblowers, and we have written extensively about many of them here on our website, including the False Claims Act, Internal Revenue Service, Mortgage Fraud/FIRREA, Motor Vehicle Safety, SEC, and CFTC.

“No matter what we do to deter waste and fraud, whistleblowers are the key to the government finding out about it when it happens.”

– Senator Chuck Grassley

July 29, 2014

False Claims Act

Do you have information and want to report fraud against the government?  The False Claims Act authorizes individuals, known as relators, to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the United States government to recover monies lost due to fraud and other types of misconduct. 

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IRS Whistleblower

The IRS Whistleblower Program offers monetary incentives to persons who voluntarily provide specific, credible information about violations of the Internal Revenue Code that result in the collection of taxes, penalties, interest, or other amounts from a noncompliant taxpayer.

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SEC Whistleblower

McEldrew Young Purtell represents whistleblowers who report violations of the Securities Exchange Act and other SEC laws and regulations, including trading violations, accounting fraud, cyber-related misconduct, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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CTFC Whistleblower

McEldrew Young Purtell represents current and former employees, as well as third parties who have information involving commodities fraud or other violations of the Commodity Exchange Act.

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FIRREA

The Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), is a federal law enacted in the wake of the Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980s.  FIRREA authorizes the Attorney General to bring a civil lawsuit for fraud involving a federally-insured financial institution.

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Auto Whistleblower

The Auto Whistleblower program was created as part of the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act and was designed to encourage whistleblowers to report safety-related problems in cars and their various component systems.  The monetary incentives and anti-relation provisions apply to any employee or contractor of a car manufacturer, part supplier or dealership.

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Whistleblower FAQs

 

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.

Can a whistleblower threaten to report their employer?

Without a lawyer, threats to report a company for a violation of the False Claims Act are problematic. When a dispute arises and legal counsel is not engaged, there is the possibility that the threat may be extortion. Individuals should therefore be extremely careful when making settlement demands to their employer, or more likely for whistleblowers, their ex-employer.

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.

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