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Whistleblower Lawyer Iowa

Fraud and deception are both significant problems in today’s world, claiming countless victims. The U.S. government and the state of Iowa are no exceptions to this phenomenon. Fraud that is committed against the government and government-funded programs eventually has an impact on the everyday citizens who need them, so it is important for people who witness fraud to speak up about it.

Individuals who help expose fraud against the government are called whistleblowers. Before reporting fraud, there are things you should know about being a whistleblower in Iowa, which we explain below. To learn more about the benefits of speaking up, schedule a free consultation with our Iowa whistleblower lawyers.

How Does Fraud Commonly Happen?

There are numerous social and economic programs set up by the United States government in order to help citizens get by in tough times, access healthcare, get an education, and more. Tycko & Zavareei LLP is committed to protecting these programs and ensuring that government funds reach the citizens who need them. But how do people take advantage of programs that appear to be heavily regulated?

Healthcare Fraud

Federal-funded healthcare programs—such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs—operate on a reimbursement basis. Healthcare services are performed, then the healthcare professional or practice submits a claim for reimbursement.

Fraud against these programs typically occurs via falsified documents and incorrect billing or coding. A practitioner may bill for services that were never performed, double bill single services, or even go as far as to perform unnecessary tests or procedures so that they receive the payout from Medicare or Medicaid.

Tax Fraud

Tax fraud happens when a business or an individual misrepresents their income, deductions, or assets while filing their taxes in order to receive a bigger refund or avoid paying what they owe the government. If an individual has knowledge of a company underpaying taxes, they can report it under the IRS Whistleblower Program. If the case is successful, the whistleblower may receive 15 to 30 percent of the amount recovered by the IRS.

Securities Fraud

Securities fraud commonly involves violations of securities laws. When investors are lied to or manipulated into buying or selling stocks based on false information and misleading financial statements, it creates an unfair market. Entities and individuals with insider knowledge of events that may cause significant changes in the market may use this to their advantage when purchasing or selling stocks. Under the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Whistleblower Program, whistleblowers who report securities fraud may receive 10 to 30% of the money recovered in a successful lawsuit.

How is Fraud Discovered?

Fraud is not an uncommon occurrence in the United States, and fraud against the government is more common than one might think, so how is it discovered when it happens?

Sometimes, someone committing fraud might slip up and make a mistake, alerting the government agency that they are defrauding. However, fraudsters are also often caught because someone from within an organization speaks up and involves the authorities. This person is known as a whistleblower, and their bravery does not go unnoticed even though they can stay anonymous. Since the government cannot be everywhere at once, they rely on regular citizens to help them find and investigate fraud.

Benefits and Protections For Whistleblowers in Iowa

If you are noticing signs of fraud against the government in Iowa and want to let someone know, you might be intimidated at first or wonder if it is worth it to say something. What is the process of being a whistleblower like? Is there any protection against retaliation from the company being reported?

The False Claims Act is the primary law that protects whistleblowers and incentivizes them to come forward. It covers most types of fraud against the government and dictates that whistleblowers are protected from any form of retaliation for their disclosure. It also states that whistleblowers can remain anonymous if they so choose.

There are also protections in place for whistleblowers at the state level. The Iowa False Claims Act is similar to the federal law in that it rewards whistleblowers for reporting acts of fraud committed against the state. However, lawsuits can only be filed for fraud that ultimately affects the state government—it cannot be limited to a local government within the state of Iowa.

What are the Consequences of Fraud?

Once a whistleblower reports suspected fraud, what happens next?

The whistleblower will make their disclosure to a qualified Iowa whistleblower lawyer, who will then take the information the whistleblower has provided and file it under the appropriate whistleblower program. An investigation will then be launched into the claims, provided that there is enough evidence to justify one. The company that faces allegations of fraud may or may not be notified that they are being investigated. Rest assured that even if the company is alerted, the identity of the whistleblower is protected under the False Claims Act.

If the investigation reveals that the organization in question did commit fraud, then there are consequences leveled against the entity as a whole as well as key individuals. These consequences may include heavy fines and possible jail time for those who directly participated in and knew about the fraud. In addition to legal consequences, fraud can irreparably damage a company’s reputation.

Should I Hire an Iowa Whistleblower Lawyer?

If you have noticed signs of fraud and wish to report it, you may not know where to go at first. Typically, Human Resources is the first stop when you are reporting misconduct within an organization; however, the first stop when you suspect fraud should be a lawyer’s office.

Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers must be represented by a lawyer. This rule is in place partly to protect your anonymity, and partly to ensure that you have an expert guiding you through the reporting process. Tycko & Zavareei LLP represents Iowa whistleblowers with care and expertise, and we are ready to take a look at your case. Contact us today to schedule your initial free consultation.

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