Who Can Be A Whistleblower?
How Whistleblower Programs Work
Anonymity And Protection From Retaliation
A whistleblower is a person who has credible, inside (i.e., non-public) information of ongoing fraud and corruption against the government (False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq.) or violations of banking, securities, tax laws and the like (SEC Whistleblower Program, IRS Whistleblower Program, CFTC Whistleblower Program, e.g.). Whistleblowers under these statutory schemes are commonly referred to as “relators.” The information relators share must be unique, previously undisclosed, and valuable to an overall recovery in order to qualify them for whistleblower rewards. You do not have to work at a company in order to blow the whistle on fraud. Sometimes, competitors may be able to report fraud, price-fixing, or bid-rigging due to their insider knowledge. Nor do you have to be an American citizen in order to qualify for protections and rewards. The federal government maintains four main whistleblower reward programs:
- SEC Whistleblower Program rewards whistleblowers for reporting violations of the federal securities laws.
- The largest SEC whistleblower reward to date is $50 million.
- CFTC Whistleblower Program rewards whistleblower for reporting commodities and futures trading violations.
- The largest CFTC whistleblower reward to date is $30 million.
- IRS Whistleblower Program rewards whistleblower for reporting tax voidance schemes including off-shore tax avoidance schemes, fraudulent and abusive tax shelters, improper tax accounting, and other underpayments of tax
- The largest IRS whistleblower reward to date is $104 million arising from foreign bank reporting law violations.
- Federal False Claims Act Actions (also known as Qui Tams). These are court actions subject to very specific reporting and filing requirements with the Department of Justice. In these cases, successful whistleblower are rewarded for reporting fraud against the government.
- The largest qui tam whistleblower reward to date is $250 million
If you have credible, inside (i.e., non-public) information of ongoing fraud and corruption against the government or violations of banking, securities, tax laws and the like, call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Can A Whistleblower Remain Anonymous?
A whistleblower may be able to remain anonymous throughout the investigation and sometimes longer depending on the type of case if they make their disclosure to a qui tam lawyer or whistleblower law firm. In these cases, the law firm will act as a liaison in between the employee and the Department of Justice. An experienced qui tam lawyer will be able to help convince the Department of Justice to take on the case, and will be in good standing with existing investigators. For higher profile cases or widespread fraud, it may be especially important to work with a respected qui tam law firm in order to convince the government to investigate a powerful corporate entity. For employers, outing or harassing a whistleblower can be a form of retaliation that is prohibited by law. Whistleblower complaints under certain federal programs such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of the Whistleblower are protected even against Freedom of Information Act requests.
Protection for Whistleblowers
Federal law now protects you against retaliation from your employer for blowing the whistle on fraud under each of these whistleblower programs. If you are fired because you brought any fraud to light, you can fight back. You may be entitled to sue your employer in federal court and seek double back pay (with interest), reinstatement, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and reimbursement for certain costs in connection with the litigation. Our California whistleblower attorneys can represent you in any action for retaliation as well as represent you in your underlying whistleblower application.
Ingrid M. Evans represents individuals with credible, original information of any kind of tax fraud, including offshore tax avoidance measures, and use of foreign corporations and accounts to avoid taxation or the like. Ingrid can be reached at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267). Ingrid also handles whistleblower actions under the Financial Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA/FIAFEA), the Commodities Futures Trading Commission Whistleblower Program, the Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program, False Claims Act cases, the FINRA Whistleblower Office and the California False Claims Act.