Individuals come forward as whistleblowers for a variety of reasons. Some feel that it is their patriotic duty to do so. Others wish to see an employer or other party that is violating the law receive justice for their actions.
However, there is also a financial incentive to serve as a whistleblower. The United States’ regulatory agencies all offer rewards through writs of Qui Tam if a whistleblower provides information that leads to a conviction and the recovery of money. A common example of this dynamic is when people provide information that leads to a conviction under the False Claims Act.
If you believe that you have observed behavior that violates the False Claims Act and wish to come forward, an experienced attorney in Charleston may be able to help. They can take the lead in forming your observations into a complaint and demanding a reward for the information that you are ready to offer.
Rewards for whistleblowers exist as a way to incentivize individuals to come forward with information about illegal activities. However, simply providing this information to a regulatory agency does not automatically mean that an individual will receive a reward.
The information must be relevant to illegal activity. It must be information that the regulatory agency did not already have and lead to a conviction. In addition, that conviction must result in the recovery of funds.
Certain parties cannot collect a reward as a matter of law. Members of law enforcement can be whistleblowers but can never collect a reward through Qui Tam. Similarly, parties who participated in the criminal activity that they allege to have occurred an ineligible. So too are individuals who had a duty to report illegal activity, such as employees of regulatory agencies. An attorney could provide more information about the eligibility factors for Qui Tam rewards.
The False Claims Act prohibits any person or entity from knowingly submitting a fraudulent claim to the United States government for payment. This typically includes government contractors seeking payment for services but may also include private individuals seeking loans or benefits. Under 31 United States Code § 3729, this is a criminal act where a conviction could have severe consequences.
Additionally, under 31 United States Code § 3730(c)(5) outlines the Qui Tam program. It provides that if a whistleblower provides information that leads to a conviction under the False Claims Act, that whistleblower may receive a reward of between 15 and 25 percent of the funds recovered in the case. Understanding both of these statutes is essential when serving as a whistleblower. A lawyer in Charleston could help parties to better understand the False Claims Act rewards that may be available.
The False Claims Act harshly punishes individuals and companies that submit fraudulent claims to the government for payment. To discover many of these illegal acts, the government relies on whistleblowers to provide information.
As an incentive, federal law offers rewards to whistleblowers through writs of Qui Tam. However, whether an individual will receive a reward depends on their information, their identity, and the amount of funds recovered in the case. An attorney in Charleston could help you if you think you have information about violations of the False Claims Act. Reach out today.