DC Whistleblower Attorney
Below is a brief discussion of who qualifies as a whistleblower, the whistleblower process, and the different laws that provide claims for whistleblowers. If you feel that might be a whistleblower and you have information about a person or corporation who is defrauding the government, you should contact a DC whistleblower attorney today.
What is a Whistleblower?
Whistleblowers are individuals who have information about corrupt or fraudulent behavior by businesses and corporations, and or the people that run them, and who choose to report that illicit behavior. When a whistleblower brings forward a case of fraud that involves government funds — such as a government contractor that overcharged or billed for phantom services–federal laws empower that whistleblower to file a lawsuit on behalf of the U.S. government.
Just as in an athletic situation when a referee blows a whistle to signal an instance of foul play individuals blow the whistle on fraud. In the context of fraud, a whistleblower is calling attention to an instance of foul play committed and usually against the public.
Whistleblower: The First Line of Defense Against Fraud
A range of organizations, from watchdog non-profits to federal agencies and oversight programs, are committed to protecting the public interest and the health, safety, and financial well-being of America’s citizens. While these organizations, laws, and government agencies do much to strengthen the process of oversight in America’s political institutions and industries, they need the courageous work of citizens who see something wrong and say something about it–these people are called whistleblowers.
Those who defraud taxpayers and investors, those who overbill the U.S. Treasury, those who manipulate Medicare programs for their own benefit — or knowingly pollute a city’s water supply while avoiding environmental fines — those are the people who are the appropriate targets of whistleblowers.
A whistleblower lawyer’s job is to enable and work to protect the individuals who do try to do the right thing. When a whistleblower decides to blow the lid off an operation aimed at defrauding honest Americans and their public institutions, he or she is not only deciding to go up against powerful interests. That person is also embarking upon a complex legal endeavor and it is a process that can only be navigated with the help of a lawyer who is knowledgeable and practiced in the areas of law that empower whistleblowers.
Guiding a whistleblower through the legal process requires a whistleblower lawyer who is willing to work with and develop a special relationship with his or her client. It is also important to know what rights the whistleblower has and what procedures may be followed. A whistleblower may want to, or may even be required by federal investigators, to remain anonymous, and the lawyer must know what options that client has in this regard. If a whistleblower suffers retaliation by the accused, a lawyer can also help defend the employment rights of the whistleblower.
What a DC Whistleblower Lawyer Can Do
A whistleblower lawyer can help you understand the long and technically complicated process of pursuing a fraud claim on behalf of yourself and and defrauded taxpayers. A caring whistleblower lawyer will work with you to consider the variety of personal and professional issues involved with taking on the burden of a this kind of case, but he or she will also handle the legal work involved.
Whistleblower attorneys with Price Benowitz LLP will first work with the whistleblower to:
- examine a claim and its merits;
- investigate the allegations based upon discussions with the client;
- file a meritorious suit on behalf of a whistleblower with substantial allegations to present;
- handle communication with federal agencies, such as the Department of Justice.
Types of Whistleblower Cases
Lawyers at Price Benowitz LLP can handle whistleblower claims which relate to many kinds of wrongdoing a client wishes to report. While the specific details of two whistleblower claims are rarely alike — the exact methods of fraud and the positions of guilty parties vary — they do fall into general categories. There are only a few applicable federal laws that empower whistleblowers (most prominent among these laws is the Federal False Claims Act). New types of whistleblower fraud claims may become viable any time someone with real allegations of fraud is prepared to file a case. In the future, there will likely be a greater variety of successful whistleblower claims. For the moment, most of whistleblower cases typically fall into oen or more of the following categories:
- Healthcare (Medicare and Medicaid) fraud;
- Kickbacks for unnecessary medical procedures;
- Fraudulent billing, which includes billing for phantom medical procedures, duplicate billing, up-charging, etc.;
- Inflating the costs of care;
- Falsifying documents related to research grants;
- Contractor Fraud: illicitly winning government contracts through kickbacks or bribes;
- Bait and switch- billing for expensive products but providing cheaper versions;
- Defense Contractor Fraud: Whistleblower actions have been filed against defense contractors who supply faulty equipment, weapons and weapon systems to the armed forces;
- GSA Contract Violations: government contractors who fail to comply with government contracting “best pricing” and other stipulations of the Trade Agreements Act;
- Environmental Fraud: government contractors who violate environmental regulations, or neglect to report noncompliance with environmental statutes and regulations.
Federal False Claims Act Cases
The Federal False Claims Act is the central piece of federal legislation empowering whistleblowers to file fraud lawsuits on behalf of the American public. The law was originally enacted during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln as a way of fighting defense contractors who were defrauding the cash-strapped Union’s Treasury Department during the American Civil War. The law was largely unused for most of the 20th century, and politicians, wishing to protect the interests of big business, regularly passed amendments weakening the law. In 1986, as evidence of fraud grew alongside the explosion of government defense expenditures, Congress decided to sharpen the law’s teeth with new amendments. An uptick in fraud cases being filed followed. Soon, it was more than just defense contracting fraud that was being brought to court. Courts began to recognize that the False Claims Act was also applicable to healthcare fraud, as government funds and healthcare services — whether through Medicare, Medicaid, or other programs — became more inextricably linked. Today, healthcare fraud is one of the most common allegations and successful matters to be the subject of whistleblower claims.
For more information on the False Claims Act, visit the page of Tony Munter Whistleblower Attorney.
Whistleblowers and Financial Industry Fraud
In the wake of the 2007-2008 housing-sector collapse and financial meltdowns, federal funds began to flow into the financial services industry as a way to prevent further economic collapse. Wherever money goes, however, fraud and corruption often follow, and whistleblowers have had some success bringing fraud claims against those who misused federal stimulus money.
In the wake of the market collapse, many ugly practices by Wall Street bankers and mortgage lenders around the country began to come to light, fueling pressure for stronger oversight of the financial sector. As result of this political pressure, new legislation, like the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act), has empowered a new group of whistleblowers who uncover evidence of reckless financial behavior. The legislation has established new statues aimed at encouraging — with reward promises and protection provisions — whistleblowers who provide insider information about financial fraud to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Examples of behaviors forbidden by SEC regulations, and thus are fair game for whistleblowers, include:
- Ponzi schemes
- Insider trading
- Accounting fraud
- Unauthorized trading
- Falsified documents
- Market manipulation
- Improper promotion of and/or sale of risky investments
- Skimming funds
Whistleblowers and Qui Tam
“Qui tam” is a term commonly used in discussions of “whistleblower law” and “False Claims Act law.” The term is derived from a Latin phrase, “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur,” which means, “[he] who sues in this matter for the king as [well as] for himself.” In the context of whistleblower law in the United States, the king is the federal and/or state entity that has been defrauded. The Federal False Claims Act and the whistleblower claims it enables are based upon the principle of qui tam, that an individual can sue someone on behalf of the government and its taxpayers.
Hiring a Whistleblower Lawyer in DC
When facing the daunting task of coming forward with a qui tam claim, it is important to have a dedicated whistleblower lawyer who is well-versed in all aspects of this law, who has worked with federal authorities in pursuing whistleblower claims, and who can help the client be as informed and comfortable as possible during what can be a long and trying process. The attorneys at Price Benowitz LLP have experience providing these services. If you have important information about fraudulent or corrupt behavior and are ready to do the right thing, make sure you do so armed with all the relevant information. Call our whistleblower lawyers today, at (202) 600-9400, to discuss the details of your case. The consultation is free and will help you understand your best options for moving forward with your claim.
Or, for more information on the whistleblower process, read our Frequently Asked Questions page.