When people are aware of fraud in their workplace, the thought of reporting that wrongdoing can be daunting. They may wonder whether whistleblowing will threaten their employment and endanger their career. They may also face concerns that reporting fraud will put them in legal jeopardy themselves.
Fortunately — because of the importance of reporting fraudulent actions, corruption and other illegal or dangerous actions — the government offers specific legal protection to those whistleblowers. Even more, the government offers specific benefits to whistleblowers who report fraud. How are whistleblowers rewarded?
The federal government protects and rewards those who come forward.
To encourage people to report wrongdoing in government offices or in businesses, the government offers significant financial incentives to those who blow the whistle. As the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) notes, whistleblowers who meet specific requirements are eligible to receive between 15 and 30 percent of the damages received by the government.
Depending on the extent of the fraud reported, these rewards can amount to millions of dollars. In fact, one recent case resulted in an 18-million-dollar award for the first whistleblower.
What steps should whistleblowers take?
While the law protects and rewards whistleblowers, those preparing to blow the whistle may still want to take steps to protect themselves before reporting fraud. They may want to review relevant laws and ensure that they know their rights at every step of the process. Reaching out for legal guidance can help you take precautions that could protect your career and your access to those rewards after you blow the whistle.