Whistleblowers, or qui tam relators, who come forward with valuable information regarding a corporation’s fraud against the government, including PPP loan abuse, may receive a whistleblower reward. Whistleblower rewards are a percentage of the defrauded funds that are successfully recovered under a qui tam lawsuit or whistleblower claims involving the SEC, IRS, or CFTC.
At Tycko & Zavareei LLP, our qui tam attorneys have represented whistleblowers across the country in cases that have resulted in the successful recovery of more than $7 billion. If you have proof of fraud against the government or have questions about filing a whistleblower claim, contact the whistleblower lawyers of Tycko & Zavareei LLP today for a free, confidential legal consultation.
What is a Whistleblower Reward?
In the U.S., an employee or other individual who files a claim with proof of a company’s fraud against the government is defined as a whistleblower. A whistleblower or qui tam relator who files a successful whistleblower claim is paid a financial award in the amount of between 15 and 25 percent of the total defrauded funds that are recovered by the government if the government agrees to come on to the case. In cases where the government does not join and the qui tam relator and their attorney pursue the case on their own, the whistleblower is eligible to receive up to 30 percent of the successfully recovered funds.
How to Qualify for a Whistleblower Reward
Under specific U.S. whistleblower laws, both private U.S. citizens as well as foreign nationals who come forward with a whistleblower tip that results in the government recouping stolen, defrauded, or owed funds are eligible to receive a financial award. The significant financial rewards programs include the False Claims Act, the Securities Exchange Act, the Commodities Exchange Act, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Other laws that provide financial rewards, though not as significant of rewards as the previously mentioned laws, include the Auto Safety Act, the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, the Lacey Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
Some examples of corporate wrongdoings that may constitute a False Claims Act lawsuit may include:
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan abuse
- Medicare and Medicaid fraud
- Securities fraud
- Defense contractor fraud
In order to qualify for these financial rewards, you must adhere to the legal procedures put forth under each act. Since the qui tam legal system can be confusing, it may be in your best interest to consult with an experienced whistleblower lawyer if you have information regarding corporate fraud and wish to file a whistleblower claim. For a free, confidential case evaluation, contact Tycko & Zavareei LLP.
Many potential qui tam relators are apprehensive to file a whistleblower claim, despite knowledge of a company’s fraud against the government, due to the fear of the company possibly retaliating against them. Under the False Claims Act and other whistleblower programs, whistleblowers are afforded protection from retaliation for their bravery in coming forward with a claim.
What is whistleblower retaliation?
Any adverse or discriminatory action taken by a company against an employee for filing a whistleblower claim may be considered whistleblower retaliation and is prohibited under whistleblower protection laws. Whistleblower retaliation may include termination, demotion, suspension, withholding pay or benefits, threatening, or discriminating against a whistleblower.
How are whistleblowers protected?
If an employee is subject to retaliation as a result of coming forward with a whistleblower claim, the whistleblower has the right to file a lawsuit against their employer in order to seek reinstatement, back pay plus interest, and reasonable attorneys costs and fees.
Can my employer retaliate?
If you have come forward with a whistleblower claim, you are protected from retaliation by your employer under the False Claims Act. If you are experiencing retaliation after filing a whistleblower claim, contact the qui tam lawyers of Tycko & Zavareei LLP today to understand your legal options.
Whistleblower Reward Programs
The following are the most common whistleblower reward programs:
1. SEC Whistleblower Reward Program
Under the Dodd-Frank Act, whistleblowers whose tips regarding securities and exchanges fraud lead to the successful recovery of over $1,000,000 are eligible to receive between 10 and 30 percent of the funds collected as a financial reward. To date, the highest SEC whistleblower award was $114 million in 2020.
2. IRS Whistleblower Reward Program
If a whistleblower’s tips regarding corporate tax fraud lead to the successful recovery of over $2,000,000, the IRS will pay the whistleblower a financial reward of between 15 to 30 percent of the recovered funds. The largest IRS whistleblower reward to date is $104 million.
3. CFTC Whistleblower Reward Program
Under the Dodd-Frank Act, qui tam relators with tips regarding commodities fraud that lead to the recovery of over $1,000,000 receive a financial reward from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC) of between 10 and 30 percent of the total recovered funds. The largest financial reward given to a whistleblower by the CTFC was nearly $200 million.
4. Anti-Money Laundering Reward Program
Whistleblowers with tips regarding money laundering who assist in the recovery of over $1,000,000 may receive a financial award of up to 30% of the total recovered funds.
5. Qui Tam Lawsuits
Qui tam relators with claims regarding government contract fraud, healthcare fraud, and other government programs fraud may receive between 15 to 30 percent of successfully recovered funds.
What to Look For In a Whistleblower Lawyer
Whistleblower attorneys play an important role in protecting the rights of individuals who bravely report fraud. Below are four things to consider when choosing a whistleblower law firm.
1. Extensive Experience
Whistleblower and qui tam law are complicated areas of law, so consulting with an experienced whistleblower attorney when filing a qui tam claim is advisable. The qui tam lawyers at Tycko & Zavareei LLP have represented hundreds of whistleblowers across the country and understand what is necessary for a strong qui tam case under each unique whistleblower reward program.
2. Areas of Practice
When coming forward with a whistleblower claim, it is in your best interest to consult with a law firm with sufficient resources to help whistleblowers shed light on corporate fraud. At Tycko & Zavareei LLP, we have eight attorneys dedicated to representing whistleblowers, so your case will receive the fine detail and attention it deserves.
3. Past Success and Cases Won
When deciding between whistleblower law firms, it is important to look at credentials, including the firm’s successes and cases won. Our whistleblower attorneys have worked on successful qui tam cases across the country, including a healthcare kickback case that settled for $350 million and a fraudulent mortgage loan underwriting case against Wells Fargo that settled for $1.2 billion.
4. Ability to Protect Your Interests
When coming forth with a whistleblower claim, the fear of retaliation for your bravery can feel daunting and threatening. It can be vital to have a whistleblower attorney on your side who will protect you to the fullest extent of the law and act as your advocate throughout the legal process.
Whistleblower Rewards: Q&A
What is a whistleblower?
A whistleblower is an employee or other private citizen with inside knowledge of fraud, tax evasion, corruption, or other illegal activity within a company who reports this information to the government. Under laws like the False Claims Act, whistleblowers whose tips lead to the government successfully recovering money that was defrauded or stolen are rewarded financially.
What is qui tam?
Under the False Claims Act, qui tam is a provision that allows employees or other private citizens who decide to become whistleblowers to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the government, which is called a qui tam lawsuit.
Do whistleblowers get paid?
When a whistleblower’s tips or inside knowledge lead to the government recouping defrauded funds, the whistleblower is entitled to a percentage of the total amount recovered. This falls between 15 and 30 percent.
What is the largest whistleblower reward?
As previously mentioned, in 2020, a whistleblower who reported SEC fraud received a financial award of $114 million, the largest SEC whistleblower reward on record.
Is the whistleblower protected by law?
Under the False Claims Act and other whistleblower protection laws, qui tam relators in the United States are protected from retaliation by their employer. Retaliation may include suspension, demotion, termination, withholding pay or benefits, harassment, or any other discrimination aimed at the whistleblower for coming forward with a claim.
Speak With a Whistleblower Lawyer Confidentially Today
Coming forward with a whistleblower claim and exposing corporations and similar entities who seek to defraud the government is a brave way to both help stop fraudulent business practices and also protect American citizens’ tax dollars. If you have private information regarding a company defrauding the government or otherwise violating the False Claims Act, contact the whistleblower lawyers of Tycko & Zavareei LLP today for a free case evaluation.