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Whistleblower Law

Types of Whistleblower Cases

Whistleblowers are entitled to awards or monetary compensation in certain cases, if their claims are successful. At the Evans Law Firm, you will find an experienced California whistleblower lawyer who can handle all different types of whistleblower cases including:

  • Banking Whistleblowers (Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) and the Financial Institutions Anti-Fraud Enforcement Act of 1990 (FIAFEA))
  • IRS – Internal Revenue Service Tax Whistleblowers;
  • Insurance Fraud Whisteblowers (California Insurance Code 1871.7);
  • SEC – Securities Exchange Commission Whistleblowers/ Dodd-Frank Whistleblowers (Wallstreet Reform and Consumer Protection Act);
  • False, Fraudulent and Qui Tam Claim Whistleblowers (federal and California false claims laws) – False Claim Act § 3729 et seq or California False Claim Act(Government Code 12650);
  • Medicare Fraud Whistleblowers;
  • Medi-cal (California) Fraud Whistleblowers;
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act Whistleblowers;
  • SEC – Securities Exchange Commission Whistleblowers/ Dodd-Frank Whistleblowers (Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act);
  • Whistleblower Retaliation under California Labor Code1102.5 and Violation of Public Policy and for Illegal Conduct

What Is A Whistleblower Under California Law?

A whistleblower is typically an employee who has noticed some kind of illegal activity or fraudulent business practice going on at work, and decides to put a stop to it—by reporting the discovery to a supervisor or higher-up within the corporation, or by going directly to a government agency or law enforcement official responsible for regulating the specific type of business. This behavior could range from violating corporate policy and procedural requirements to illegal transactions or behavior, or to a threat against public safety, interest, or health, including fraud and safety violations.

The protection of whistleblowers dates back to the 1700s, and legislation has been in place since the Civil War era. In present day, California and several other states follow the revised False Claims Act, which protects employees from harm after they turn in their employers, and encourages whistleblowers to continue reporting illegal acts by rewarding them a percentage of the money recovered or the damages won in court.

What Is A False Claim Or Qui Tam Case?

A false claim is a claim that is fraudulent that is submitted to the government. A case can be brought for a false claim on behalf of the federal or a state government that had fraud committed upon them. These cases are brought to recover taxpayer money that was taken fraudulently. Sometimes these type of cases are called “whistleblower” cases because they are brought by a whistleblower who is acting on behalf of the local, state or federal government. You may also hear the term “qui tam” – which is a latin phrase that is roughly translated to mean that person or entitly who pursues this action on the governments’ behalf (translated correctly as the Lord King’s behalf), as well as his own.

The qui tam plaintiff or whistleblower is called a relator under federal or state law. The plaintiff or relator is considered to be bringing the lawsuit for the government. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b): “A person may bring a civil action for a violation of section 3729 for the person and for the United States Government. The action shall be brought in the name of the Government.”

Some common types of false claim whistleblower cases include:

  • Medicare Fraud
  • Medical Fraud
  • Government Contractor Fraud
  • Mortgage Fraud
  • Billing the Government (local, state or federal) for goods or services there were not provided
  • Overcharging the Government (local, state or federal) for good or services
  • Illegal Kickbacks (by pharmaceutical or other companies)
  • Healthcare, Pharmaceutical, and Medical Equipment Fraud

Seek Protection with a California Whistleblower Attorney

When allegations about a company arise, the Securities and Exchange Commission wants to see that the company is taking these allegations against them seriously and separating the allegations from the actual person making them. Although the Securities and Exchange Commission will consider information on the whistleblower’s credibility, the Commission is concerned with employer’s whistleblowers policies and seeing what the company actually does with the whistleblowers allegations. Additionally, the Securities and Exchange Commission wants to see how the employee is treated after the allegations are made, including making sure that the employee/whistleblower is not discriminated or retaliated against because of the allegations he or she makes against their employer.

Such discriminatory actions include termination, demotion, suspension, harassment and any other act that would dissuade a reasonable person from reporting violations. Moreover, if an employee has been wrongfully retaliated against, they may bring a private action in federal court against their employer. If they prevail, they may be entitled to reinstatement, double back pay, litigation costs, expert witness fees, and attorney’s fees. The Securities and Exchange Commission can also take legal action in an enforcement proceeding against any employer who retaliates against a whistleblower for reporting information.

Choose Your California Whistleblower Attorney Carefully

IRS whistleblower cases are often the ones that have the most stringent criteria for the whistleblower to work with. If you are reporting to the IRS on tax fraud, tax evasion or other illegal tax practices, you may be putting your career on the line. You need to be sure that your lawyer will work with you to ensure you receive the best representation, job protection and reward for your actions.

The following list explains a few key things to consider in choosing an attorney:

  • Whistleblower specialty and success rates. You definitely want your lawyer to have handled such cases previously, and he or she should be familiar with the courtroom and the legal landscape of your case. That said, you want to choose a firm that has a high success rate in whistleblower cases. If you can get firsthand testimony from an online review or someone else who has used the firm’s services, that’s even better. Be wary of some firms whose online presence may over exaggerate their true value. Do not hesitate to ask for concrete examples of a firm or attorney’s success before making your decision.
  • Tax fraud expertise. Do some online research once you’ve narrowed down your choices to see if your top firms have any expertise with tax fraud in particular. If the IRS and Congress have been in contact with the lawyers at a particular firm, that’s usually a good sign that they are well-respected in the field. Another good clue is if they have been questioned or quoted by newspapers and media outlets as sources.
  • Tax code knowledge. See if the firm employs the help of tax experts and find out who they use. Make sure your firm has a relationship with experts who deal specifically in the areas your case will cover.
  • Familiarity with the IRS. It would be quite helpful if your attorney is familiar with the IRS and its policies and procedures. You will be spending a lot of time trying to push your case in front of the IRS whistleblower office, as they receive thousands of reports of fraud each year. Your attorney should be able to help you make your case a priority.

If you have first-hand knowledge of a fraud that is being committed upon the local, state or federal government, email us on the Contact Us webpage or call us at 415-441-8669 to speak with a California whistleblower attorney. Your email and call is confidential and free. We handle these types of cases on a contingency, meaning that if there is no recovery, you do not owe us anything.

For a free and confidential consultation with a California lawyer about your possible case, please call us at 415-441-8669 or toll free at 888-503-8267 or send an email to info@evanslaw.com or under the Contact Us portion of this website.

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