Santa Ana Employment Lawyers
"Whistle blowing" is the act of reporting wrongdoing. It often involves employees taking the brave stance of standing up to criminal activity or something that is morally or ethically wrong and blow the whistle on them in spite of knowing that their employer could get hurt or get in legal trouble.
Qui Tam whistleblower lawsuits involve individuals revealing that a company has been cheating the government and individuals who bring a successful qui tam case under the False Claims Act are entitled to a reward.
Before you blow the whistle talk to an employment lawyer about your situation as you are at risk for wrongful termination in a qui tam case.
Types of Fraud against the Government
Individuals looking to protect their own best interests at the expense of taxpayers and the government may commit fraud. Examples of fraud against the government that can be the basis of a qui tam lawsuit include:
- Fraudulent claims: Under California law, "companies may not present or cause to be presented a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval."
- False claims to receive goods: Fraud is also when a company "knowingly buys, or receives as a pledge of an obligation or debt, public property from any person who lawfully may not sell or pledge the property."
- Medicare or Medicaid Fraud: This includes intentionally lying on an application for Medicare or Medicaid. Individuals may fabricate their health or financial status to receive support from the government.
- Research fraud: Companies may cover up findings about the quality of their products. For example, research that proves that their product is defective or dangerous must be reported. Companies that fail to immediately report their findings to the appropriate governing entity may be held accountable for their actions.
- Customs fraud: This is when a company submits false statements to reduce the amount of payments owed to the government.
- Bid-rigging on government projects: This may include companies working together to cheat the government during negotiations on large contracts.
- Environmental fraud: Companies that are responsible for polluting or damaging the environment must report what they have done to the government. For fear of bad publicity, penalties and fees, many companies choose to cover up these types of transgressions. An employee who steps forward to expose an environmental cover-up may be eligible for a reward and job protection for their courage.
- Defense contractor fraud: Some of the most lucrative government contracts involve projects with defense and the military. To receive a government contract, some companies may go to extremes. Companies that falsely make claims about the quality of work they can provide or who do not meet their side of an agreement may face penalties.
How Whistle Blowing Can Affect a Company
Employees who know of wrongdoing at their place of work may worry that reporting those transgressions will hurt their employer and cost them their job. The truth is, every case is different and it is difficult to know how a case under the False Claims Act will affect a company. Successful claims typically result in fees and penalties that the fraudulent company will have to pay to the government. California law also allows a civil penalty of not less than $5,000 and not more than $10,000 for each violation. The claim may also hurt the corporation's reputation. This should not, however, discourage someone from doing the right thing.
How Filing a Claim can affect the Whistleblower
To encourage whistleblower to step forward, the government does provide support and rewards for a successful claim. The amount of the financial compensation provided to a whistle blower is directly based on the amount of money the government recovers. Additionally, the whistleblower may receive job protection.
Anyone who believes they have knowledge of a company or individual committing fraud against the government would be well advised to discuss their legal options with a skilled Santa Ana employment lawyer.
The knowledgeable qui tam whistleblower attorneys at Bisnar Chase are here to protect and uphold the rights of those brave men and women who risk their careers and their future in order to do the right thing. Please contact us to find out how we can help you.
Call 949-203-3814 today for a Free Case Consultation
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