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How should you report your employer’s fraud against the government?

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2024 | Firm News |

The funds provided by government programs can be an important source of support for people and businesses. However, when individuals or businesses abuse, mismanage or illegally obtain those funds, their fraud can cost government agencies and limit their ability to provide financial support as intended.

Because of the wide-ranging impact that fraud can have, it is essential for people with evidence of fraud against the government to report what they know. What should whistleblowers know about reporting fraud?

What is the False Claims Act?

Often called the “Lincoln Law,” the False Claims Act was initiated by Abraham Lincoln because companies were selling rotten beef and uniforms that disintegrated in the rain to the Union army. It provides a share of any recovery to whistleblowers who file complaints with original information of fraud against the government.

Today, 80% of the False Claims Act recovery is in Medicare / Medicaid fraud. However, there are also significant recoveries in military contract fraud, procurement fraud, import fraud, grant fraud, Small Business Administration eligibility fraud, and many other areas—where ever government contracts are involved.

Before reporting, collect documentation.

Knowledge that fraud occurred may not be enough to hold someone responsible. You should also collect documentation to support your claim. Depending on the type of fraud, this documentation may include:

  • Work orders or activity logs related to the fraud
  • Relevant emails, text messages or phone records
  • The names and titles of people involved in the fraudulent activity
  • Contact information for other witnesses
  • Legally-obtained recordings of phone conversations

This documentation can help you establish the facts you want to report and build a timeline of the fraudulent activity.

It is also important to remember that you may not be able to access this information after the investigation starts. Your employer may destroy evidence, or you may experience retaliation that cuts you off from key information. Securing evidence before your employer becomes aware of an investigation can ensure that this evidence is still available when it is needed.

Identify the laws involved in your claim.

The relevant government entities involved and the applicable statutes and regulations are crucial to determine whether evidence will be relevant to your claim.

Know the deadline for reporting fraud.

Keeping whistleblowing deadlines in mind can help ensure that your claim moves forward and that you have the protections you need.

Understand how to protect your rights.

It is important to know the steps you can take to protect yourself and the protections the law provides to whistleblowers. This may include remaining anonymous while reporting fraud, documenting any challenges you face after making a report and taking other steps. Identifying these precautions before moving forward with a claim will help you avoid missteps during the whistleblowing process.

Seek experienced guidance before reporting.

Reporting fraud against the government is not sufficient to secure your claim. Often, when a represented whistleblower who has filed a complaint obtains a recovery, others who reported the fraud through a government hot line or to the FBI feel cheated out of a reward. But the False Claims Act only provides a share of the recovery to whistleblowers whose legal counsel file detailed complaints under seal in federal court.

Thankfully, an attorney with experience in whistleblower cases can help you identify whether your concerns could be the basis of a legal case and provide support at every stage of this process. The guidance of an attorney can also help you lay the groundwork for protecting your career even before you report fraud.

While other types of complaints filed in federal court are frequently as short as just a few pages, False Claims Act complaints often exceed 100 pages because of the detail and specific examples required to meet the false Claims Act standards. Very few attorneys are experienced False Claims Act attorneys who can navigate the highly unusual procedural process and shoulder the work involved with preparing the complaint and the accompanying detailed evidentiary Disclosure Materials.
With the right guidance and careful preparation, you can hold individuals and businesses accountable for illegal activity while also protecting your rights and your future, and obtaining a significant share of any recovery to the government.