Whistleblowers Are Effective Enforcement Tools
False Claims Act Cases Take A long Time
A whistleblower is someone who shares credible information about financial fraud, criminal activity, unsafe working conditions, false claims for payment, false certifications, or other improper conduct with a government agency. Whistleblower cases are brought under various statutes including for example the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq., and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”), 15 U.S.C. § 78u-6 et seq. If the information leads to a settlement, whistleblowers earn a percentage of the financial penalties paid by wrongdoers. While the process can take years, tipsters stand to earn millions of dollars for their valuable information. Whistleblower cases are a major source of recovery from wrongdoers for the government; nearly 75% of the $2.2 billion False Claims Act settlements and judgments reported by the government last year came from whistleblower complaints. The Los Angeles whistleblower attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent individuals (known as “relators”) who bring these qui tam cases based on the credible information they have of fraud against the government in the healthcare field (Medicare and Medicaid fraud), government contractor work, sales of drugs subject to government approval, and more. If you have credible information for a false claims whistleblower case or any other whistleblower case in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, call us today at (415)441-8669 and we can help.
Whistleblower Tips in Financial Fraud Cases
The Securities and Exchange Commission has doled out more than $700 million to tipsters since the agency launched its own whistleblower program under Dodd-Frank a decade ago. Individual payments have ballooned in recent years: the SEC issued a $114 million whistleblower award last year—its largest-ever payment. Whistleblower tips have uncovered some of the most notable cases of financial fraud in past years too. UBS in 2009 paid a massive $780 billion settlement for helping wealthy American customers evade taxes, and Merrill Lynch in 2018 paid a $415 billion settlement for misusing billions of dollars of customer funds. The whistleblowers who tipped off authorities in those cases made $104 million and $83 million, respectively. In a recent New York State case, a whistleblower stands to receive $22 million as a reward for blowing the whistle on State and City tax fraud by a hedge fund manager. The State recovered $104 million. Unfortunately, California has yet to expand its own false claims act to include tax fraud and, as the new York case illustrates, is missing out on a major enforcement tool by not allowing private individuals to bring State qui tam cases for tax evasion.
Whistleblowing is a Long Game
Getting a whistleblowing payout isn’t easy. It can be a stressful job and can take years of quietly waiting. Our whistleblower litigators are currently working on a large whistleblower case that was originally filed in 2010 and has still not been tried. While various laws protect whistleblowers from retaliation, sharing a confidential tip is still a “very risky proposition” for employees who want to stay employed because there’s no truly-safe roadmap, according to Wharton School professor Janice Bellace. Lodging an anonymous complaint can also mean spending years in the shadows while government agencies investigate your workplace or peers. The SEC, for example, said it usually takes between two and three years to investigate fraud claims. After the agency takes action, it takes even longer for a whistleblower to apply for an award; for the agency to review their claim; and for the whistleblower to appeal if they’re not satisfied the award matches their contribution to the case.
If you have credible information of fraud against the government or securities or tax fraud, call Ingrid M. Evans and our other Los Angeles whistleblower attorneys today at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a> if you have information that may be the basis of a False Claims Act qui tam action. Ingrid and the other Evans Law Firm, Inc. whistleblower attorneys also handle bank fraud whistleblower cases under FIRREA/FIAFEA, commodity trading and securities fraud under the Commodities Futures Trading Commission Whistleblower Program and the Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program, and tax fraud under the Internal Revenue Service Whistleblower Program.