Whistleblower and Qui Tam Lawsuit Attorneys in Los Angeles
Reporting Fraud Takes Courage. We Stand with Those Who Stand Up for What Is Right.
Americans spend, on average, a third of their adult lives at work. We form friendships, reach milestones, and continue to improve our skills in these institutions. Some people are fortunate to work under honest and caring managers. Others, however, may find their labor is ultimately supporting a fraudulent or otherwise unethical operation. This can be a hard truth to face, and even an even more difficult one to handle.
We count on our jobs to support ourselves and our loved ones, and explaining you were fired is never easy in an interview. On the other hand, knowing your boss or company is engaging in illegal behavior can weigh on you heavily, affecting your enthusiasm for work and sense of accomplishment.
If you find yourself in this position, you should know that the law is on your side and will protect you should you choose to report the wrongdoing. Robins Cloud LLP has an experienced team of attorneys who are unafraid of taking on fraudulent organizations or government operations. We can help you take action while maintaining your confidentiality and helping you prepare in case your employer illegally tries to retaliate.
Call us at (800) 691-2363 for a free and confidential consultation if you believe you’re uncovered fraud or illegal practices in your workplace. Robins Cloud LLP fights for the workers who courageously come forward to expose wrongdoing.
Government Whistleblowers and Whistleblower Protections
If you have information about or have witnessed your employer threatening public health and safety or violating laws and regulations, you may feel responsible for reporting it. A whistleblower is a person who notifies law enforcement of an organization that is engaged in illicit activity. Taking action in this way does not reflect poorly on you as an employee—in fact, it shows you are an engaged and conscientious citizen who wants their work to matter. Your report may also save taxpayer dollars and/or halt practices that endanger our communities.
Even more importantly, federal law provides protection for anyone who comes forward with such a report. The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against a whistleblower in the workplace or seek to bring criminal charges against them. This includes actions such as:
- Being fired or laid off
- Being denied overtime, benefits, or a promotion
- Being demoted or reassigned to a less desirable position
- Facing restrictions that reduce chances of workplace advancement
- Facing discipline
- Having your pay or hours reduced
- Intimidation, threats, or harassment
- Social measures including isolation, ostracization, mocking, or false reports of poor performance
- Being blacklisted
- Resigning after facing intolerable working conditions
Whistleblowing may take many forms, especially as an investigation progresses. This means employees may do more than just make an initial report that spurs an investigation. The following actions are protected by law:
- Starting an investigation or enforcement action, or causing one to be started
- Testifying in an investigation
- Assisting or participating in proceedings that follow a whistleblower report
- Complaining about violations of the law or regulations
Valid whistleblower complaints and reports might concern:
- Violations of laws, rules, and regulations
- Gross mismanagement or waste of funds
- Abuses of Authority
- Substantial and specific dangers to public health or safety
If you believe you have faced retaliation because you came forward to report wrongdoing, our team can help you collect and preserve evidence and create an argument to support your claim. You must be able to prove:
- The information you disclosed was, or reasonably could have been assumed, illegal
- The person in charge of any disciplinary action taken against you knew about your disclosure
- Your choice to blow the whistle was a factor in this decision
Because whistleblower retaliation is illegal, your workplace may take steps to conceal the connection between your coming forward and any acts of retribution. Our attorneys can help you obtain information and records that may help prove your case.
Government Fraud and Qui Tam Law
There is a lot of conduct that could be considered fraudulent, but government fraud in particular is considered a very serious crime. Any time someone obtains government money through deception, trickery, or scams, they are committing fraud. It is taxpayers who end up footing the bill for this activity, and anyone can report such behavior regardless of whether they are a government employee.
Types of Government Fraud
Examples of fraudulent activity involving the government include:
- Contract Scams. Some scammers will form fake companies and claim to employ a nonexistent staff so they can enter into contracts or other agreements with invented contractors. This allows the wrongdoer to claim various tax deductions and exemptions they are not eligible for.
- False Tax Information. When an employer intentionally withholds income “for tax purposes” while using those funds for personal benefit, they are defrauding the government.
- Healthcare Fraud. Healthcare providers may file for Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement for procedures that were never performed. Typically, a patient will not even know their name is being used for fraudulent purposes. If the claim is ultimately approved and a check is issued to the care provider, the money and the claim may be removed from official accounting records.
Other examples of government fraud can include contract bribes, double or dishonest billing, intentionally using inferior parts in products, or falsely certifying parts or products that do not meet testing requirements.
The False Claims Act and Qui Tam Law
When the government seeks remedies from fraudulent offenders, it usually does so under the Federal False Claims Act (FCA). Fraudulent activity of all kinds is covered by the FCA, including government contract fraud, health care fraud, highway fund fraud, mortgage and loan fraud, fraud related to disaster assistance, and fraud related to agricultural programs and research grants. The FCA was strengthened in 1986 to incentivize further witnesses of government wrongdoing, also known as whistleblowers or relators, to come forward and file a lawsuit on the government’s behalf.
The FCA’s qui tam provision allows individuals who witness wrongdoing to file lawsuits on the government’s behalf. As a relator, an individual can present a case of fraud to the government, which will then choose to pursue the case via the DOJ or allow the relator and their attorneys to see the litigation through. Companies found guilty of committing fraud must pay back monetary damages and civil penalties as well as the relator’s legal costs. The relator may receive between 15-30% of the sum owed to the government. In 2019, there were 637 qui tam actions filed on the government’s behalf.
The Scope of Government Fraud
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recovered more than $3 billion in fiscal year 2019 under the FCA, and qui tam actions were responsible for around $2 of every $3 recovered. The majority of these recoveries ($2.6 billion) were from actions against the health care industry; charges filed involved kickbacks, false marketing, attempts to use Medicare payments to increase drug prices, and more. Other major settlements involved issues of dishonest billing and anticompetitive conduct.
Your Confidentiality Is a Priority
At Robins Cloud LLP, we understand reporting fraud against the government is very serious and sensitive in nature. You can expect our attorneys to act accordingly, taking every step necessary to safeguard your confidentiality. If you believe that you’ve witnessed fraudulent activity or wrongdoing at your place of work, we recommend taking the following actions to protect yourself:
- Do not communicate about what you’ve witnessed from your office or place of work. This includes emails, phone calls, or any other electronic communication. Remember, any communications sent through employer-owned systems or networks could be monitored or intercepted.
- Do not send information via email or save notes in a document on your computer. You should instead hand-write any details of what you’ve witnessed and include the names of those who might be involved and the dates of any activity.
- Do not share any information with your fellow employees. You never know if one or more of your co-workers might also be involved in the fraud.
When you come to us with a whistleblower report, we will leverage our resources to help protect your identity during this time. We will also be your partners in watching for any signs of illegal retaliation, ready to file a case if needed.
Our Experienced Whistleblower Attorneys Are Here to Help You
Since government fraud essentially steals money from taxpayers, those who engage in fraudulent activity against the government end up taking government funds or monies that would otherwise go towards public benefits and services. This is therefore a crime that affects society as a whole, and it should not be tolerated in any form. Our team at Robins Cloud LLP is here to help you put a halt to illegal activity and bring wrongdoers to justice.
We’ve built a reputation on the hard work we put in to protect innocent people from the actions of wrongdoers. Even if a case of government fraud does not affect you directly, coming forward can be risky. We applaud the efforts of people like you who blow the whistle on bad actors. It’s not an easy decision to make—but for those who have the courage to come forward, our experienced attorneys are here to protect your rights.
Speak to the whistleblower & qui tam attorneys at Robins Cloud LLP by calling (800) 691-2363 or sending us a message online. We will handle your case with discretion and can help you take steps to protect against illegal retaliation.
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