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Whistleblower Lawyer Oklahoma

Whistleblowers are a key part of efforts to stop fraud. They are usually normal people doing their jobs when they notice that something is not right. They may be pressured into participating in illegal activity under the threat of losing their job or instructed to do something that does not seem right. Whatever tips them off, a whistleblower is someone with inside information about fraud or corruption who then reports that information to the authorities.

Whistleblowers are a vital part of maintaining fair and just trade, healthcare, and more. Below are some important things to know about fraud and being a whistleblower in Oklahoma. To learn more, contact our Oklahoma whistleblower lawyers to schedule a confidential consultation.

Fraud Against the Government vs. Fraud Against Individuals

Most fraud cases discussed on the news are cases of fraud against (or committed by) an individual. Phone scams and identity theft are both common forms of fraud that target individual citizens.

Government fraud, on the other hand, is a crime committed by individuals or by a business against the U.S. government that violates the False Claims Act or similar laws. It attempts to take advantage of government programs through deception by receiving benefits or money to which the business does not have a legal right or by avoiding payment to the government. Types of fraud against the government include tax fraud, healthcare fraud, customs and tariffs fraud, and government contractor fraud.

How Can You Spot Fraud in Oklahoma?

People may think that they can easily slip under the radar and get away with fraud more easily due to the size and complexity of the programs and departments within the federal government. However, billions of dollars are recovered every year through the brave actions of whistleblowers.

The whole idea behind fraud is to use deception and avoid detection. However, there are a few red flags that employees can watch out for that may indicate that their employer is committing some type of fraud against the government.

  • Consistent errors of the same type. Not every error is an indicator of fraud. People make unintentional mistakes every day. It may raise some alarm if you are noticing consistent errors of the same type, which may improve after someone points it out and then resume when no one is watching. Pay extra attention if these errors are ones that would benefit the business in some way if no one were to catch them, such as using the wrong codes when billing Medicare or Medicaid.
  • Dodging questions or withholding information. If your employer or manager is withholding information, it may be for a good reason, such as security. However, if you are not getting answers to questions that fall within your job description concerning errors or discrepancies in financial documents or billing, there may be a reason.
  • Job duties being reassigned. It can be baffling when you are suddenly told that the boss is going to be handling some of your job duties going forward, especially if it comes after you have raised concerns about suspicious activity. Job duties such as handling taxes or billing may suddenly be handed over to an individual who does not normally handle them in order to keep something a secret.

Reporting Oklahoma Healthcare Fraud

Since the programs and benefits that are being targeted by fraud are tax-payer funded, when someone steals from the state or federal governments, they are stealing from the people who paid taxes. Citizens may also feel the effects of fraud when they are directly taken advantage of in order to perpetuate fraud. This is especially seen in healthcare.

For example, performing unnecessary medical services or providing unnecessary medications might be a form of healthcare fraud if it is part of a larger kickback scheme or effort to claim more money from government-funded healthcare programs. The patient may experience adverse effects from these medications or services, while the healthcare provider committing fraud reaps the benefits.

Oklahoma healthcare fraud may violate the federal False Claims Act or the Oklahoma Medicaid False Claims Act. Submitting false claims to federal-funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, or Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, SoonerCare, is illegal. Those who commit fraud may be subject to stiff penalties.

If an Oklahoma whistleblower reports healthcare fraud, they are eligible to receive 15 to 30% of the final amount recovered by the state or federal government. Examples of healthcare fraud include overbilling for services, participating in kickback schemes, performing and billing for unnecessary tests, and more.

Am I Safe After Blowing the Whistle On My Employer?

If you have noticed some red flags which may indicate that your employer is committing fraud in Oklahoma, you might be torn on whether or not to report it. Reporting fraud can be scary, but whistleblowers have a set of protections under the False Claims Act. This law was enacted in order to encourage whistleblowers to come forward and help the government discover and prosecute fraud.

Under the False Claims Act, people who disclose suspicions of fraud to a qualified whistleblower lawyer and begin the process of filing a qui tam lawsuit are protected from any form of retaliation. Retaliation is a negative action taken against an employee specifically due to them reporting suspected fraud. It can be subtle or obvious, but a company will typically try to give other reasons for the action so that they do not get in trouble for retaliating against the employee. Transfers, pay cuts, reductions in hours, and termination are all possible forms of retaliation. Tycko & Zavareei LLP can help you handle retaliation during your whistleblower case in Oklahoma should it happen.

Not only are whistleblowers protected from retaliation, but there are also financial incentives to come forward about fraud. If a whistleblower’s disclosure leads to a successful qui tam lawsuit, that person may be entitled to a financial reward of up to 30% of what the government recovers in the settlement.

Why Should I Hire an Oklahoma Whistleblower Lawyer?

Though hiring a whistleblower lawyer in Oklahoma may be intimidating at first, it is a necessary step in your qui tam case. Qualified Oklahoma qui tam lawyers like those at Tycko & Zavareei LLP are here to help you through the process and protect your identity however possible. Are you ready to speak up? Contact us today to learn more and set up a confidential consultation to discuss your case.

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