Who can be a qui tam relator (whistleblower)?
Just about anyone. Any person or business entity with evidence of fraud against the government may file a qui tam lawsuit. However, if the government or another whistleblower has already filed a False Claims Act lawsuit based on the same evidence as you, you cannot bring a lawsuit.
Should I bring a qui tam case?
These cases are not about getting rich quick. They take years, and it is often stressful and demanding work. Your career might suffer. However, by taking the bold step to become a whistleblower, you can expose fraud and assist the government in recovering stolen funds on behalf of all taxpayers. Before making a decision, do the research. There are many resources, including whistleblower testimonials, available at the Taxpayers Against Fraud (TAF) website at www.taf.org (TAF is a non-profit, public interest organization dedicated to combating fraud against the federal government through the promotion and use of the federal False Claims Act and its qui tam provisions). We at Behn & Wyetzner would be happy to evaluate and discuss your potential claims and any concerns you may have.
What if I participated in the creation or submission of false claims?
Participation in the fraudulent conduct does not automatically preclude you from filing a qui tam suit. Many whistleblowers are not initially aware that their superiors are committing fraud or that they are participating in it. Others are “forced” to participate by their superiors. However, you should be aware that being a whistleblower does not automatically protect you from prosecution. And if a qui tam relator “planned or initiated” the fraudulent conduct, the court has discretion to reduce the whistleblower’s recovery. If a whistleblower is convicted of a crime arising from the fraudulent conduct, he or she will be dismissed from the lawsuit and will not share in any portion of the government’s recovery.
Can a whistleblower submit information anonymously?
Individuals are free to submit information to the government anonymously, but a False Claims Act case cannot usually be filed anonymously. However, if the fraud involves a securities violation, whistleblowers may submit information anonymously under the SEC Whistleblower Program, if they are represented by an attorney. It may also be possible to form a business entity and file the qui tam action under the business’ name. That way your name will not be on the case caption. Behn & Wyetzner is committed to protecting your identity to the fullest extent possible, but in most cases, it is impossible to remain anonymous throughout the investigation and subsequent litigation of a False Claims Act case.