When a company engages in fraudulent activities, often the only people who know about it are the employees. Therefore, in order for the proper authorities to discover the fraud and take legal action, an employee must first report his or her employer. Usually, the employee must file a qui tam claim, which is a lawsuit brought on behalf of the government.
Becoming a whistleblower can be a difficult decision, as workers may fear employer retaliation, such as firing. However, several different federal laws offer whistleblower protection and allow those who come forward to keep a portion of the recovery from a qui tam lawsuit as a reward for reporting fraud.
The False Claims Act, which pertains to fraud against the federal government, offers some of the most comprehensive protection to whistleblowers. Other laws protect those who report securities and commodities violations, public health dangers, consumer welfare issues and other misconduct.
Qui tam lawsuits are complex and most companies fight allegations of fraud and/or misconduct fiercely. An experienced whistleblower lawyer can shoulder the legal burdens of your claim and can help protect you from employer retaliation. At Regan Zambri Long, our personal injury attorneys in Washington, DC have over 100 years of combined experience representing complex legal claims. We can work with you to put an end to fraud and misconduct. We always offer free, confidential consultations so that you can discuss your situation with no fee and no worries about your employer’s reaction.
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When Can I File a Whistleblower Claim?
To file a qui tam lawsuit, you must be able to demonstrate that fraud or misconduct on the part of your employer caused one of the following:
- The government’s financial losses. The False Claims Act covers these types of claims.
- Securities and commodities law violations. The Dodd-Frank Act applies to these types of claims.
- Harm to the company’s employees or the public in general. Multiple specific laws cover these types of claims, which may pertain to issues like environmental damage, public safety, consumer fraud and health hazards. The specifics of these types of claims may vary widely, depending on the circumstances of your case. However, qui tam claims must generally all meet the same standards, which are:
- The company knowingly committed fraud. The standard for fraud, according to the False Claims Act and other laws, is quite high. Usually, you must demonstrate that your employer made a false claim for payment with the specific intention to deceive in order to receive government money.
- You have concrete, original evidence. A successful qui tam claim relies on strong evidence. Additionally, your evidence must be original, meaning that the government could not otherwise obtain it.
- You are the first to file. The First to File rule bars you from entering a claim if someone else already filed a lawsuit based on the same evidence. However, several whistleblowers may file a claim together.
- You file within the statute of limitations. The time limit for filing a claim varies. For example, the False Claims Act includes a formula for determining these limits; in most cases, you have six years from the time the violation occurred, but this may vary in some circumstances. Therefore, you should always consult a whistleblower attorney in Washington, DC for advice regarding the statute of limitations.
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What Are Common Types of Whistleblower Claims?
Fraud against the government and/or the public can take many forms, and may vary by industry. Some of the most common types of whistleblower claims that our attorneys have handled include:
- Healthcare fraud. Medical institutions sometimes profit by taking advantage of government programs. Billing for services that were never delivered, fraudulent coding and misrepresenting prescriptions are all actions that may constitute healthcare fraud.
- Medicare fraud. Medicare and Medicaid subsidize the costs of medical treatments and prescriptions for certain groups. However, contractors and other parties involved may overcharge, bill for nonexistent procedures and/or commit other fraud designed to get unwarranted payments from the government.
- Kickbacks. A company may offer financial incentives to facilitate deceitful gains from the government. Usually, kickbacks accompany some other type of fraud.
- Tax fraud. Your employer may misrepresent earnings or other details of the business in order to avoid taxes or receive fraudulent refunds.
- Contractor fraud. Government contractors may commit fraud either to win contracts or to avoid fulfilling their obligations, while still receiving payment. For example, a contractor may falsify test data to deceive the government into accepting a substandard product as fulfillment of the contract.
Employees generally know their own businesses best; if you suspect that your employer committed fraud according to industry-specific laws, then contact a qui tam attorney to learn your legal options.
Need a Whistleblower Lawyer? Contact Our Washington DC Law Firm Today
The lawyers at Regan Zambri Long PLLC, offer confidential consultations so that you can learn your rights in whistleblower matters, free of charge. If you have evidence of your employer’s False Claims Act violations, then we can help you file a lawsuit and protect your own rights. Our whistleblower attorneys in Washington, DC also have offices in Maryland and Virginia. Call (202) 463-3030 or contact us online to set up an appointment.
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Our Washington DC personal injury lawyers have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Backed by more than 100 years of combined experience, our firm has an established reputation for pursuing legal excellence. As our client, you will enjoy peace of mind in knowing that your rights will be protected from start to finish. We will do everything in our power to secure the maximum compensation you need to pay for injury-related expenses, such as medical care and lost income, as well as full compensation for all of the physical and emotional consequences of your injuries.