Whistleblower Lawyer

A whistleblower is anyone who reports illegal or unethical activity, to prevent wrongdoing. Whistleblower law seeks to help provide whistleblowers with rights. These usually come in the form of rights to sue for retaliation, or the right to a reward for reporting wrongdoing.

It is important to work with a skilled whistleblower lawyer when considering whether to blow the whistle. There are many complex aspects of these cases that are important to keep in mind and many steps to take that an experienced lawyer can help with.

Types of Whistleblower Cases

Whistleblower cases can be very large under any of the whistleblower reward laws. For example, tax fraud can involve a great deal of money and government contracting is be definition a huge business. The large amounts involved should be kept in perspective. Whistleblowers may be entitled to awards that are a percentage of these large amounts, but can take years to collect, and many cases fail for reasons that may not be apparent initially. Still, the purpose of these awards is clear. These laws are designed to encourage whistleblowers to provide information that is not generally in the public domain to the government.

Even when there has been a public disclosure of the allegations, Whistleblowers may be able to establish themselves as entitled to an award. Under the False Claims Act to do so requires that the whistleblower be an original source of information. There are requirements for original information under the IRS and SEC regulations as well. The False Claims Act now includes a provision allowing the government to effectively waive the public disclosure bar.

Motivation

IRS and SEC whistleblower regulations rules were designed because the Congress created laws to allow for whistleblowers to come forward with new information and collect an award. So the IRS and the SEC created procedures to make that possible. While a whistleblower can file a case under certain circumstances when there is public information about that case, as a general rule under whistleblower law, the more new information the plaintiff brings to the government, the stronger their position.

It is important for any whistleblower to be able to state the source of their information to be able to demonstrate that their information is true and to expect the information and their position to be scrutinized by the government. The government takes reports of fraud on the False Claim Act very seriously and the Security and Exchange Commission and the IRS investigate many claims filed with those agencies. What constitutes information that should be used in these investigations is also complicated as there may be privileged material, for example, that should not be used. A whistleblower attorney can help their client determine necessary information.

Retaliation

Whistleblower laws include a variety of specific regulations which provide different rights to whistleblowers. Whistleblower retaliation is unfortunately common. Most of the major whistleblower laws including whistleblower award laws include anti-retaliation provisions.

It is important to know that anti-retaliation provisions generally provide a basis for individuals to sue along with strong rights to damages, but they do not protect from retaliation occurring in the first place.

Reward Laws

Whistleblower reward laws, in addition to providing rights for individuals to sue and protect themselves, also give the individual an opportunity to obtain a reward if their report results in the government collecting any funds.

Currently, the most prominent whistleblower reward laws are the Federal and State False Claims Acts.

The IRS has a whistleblower reward law. The office of the whistleblower for the Internal Revenue Service allows individuals to report tax fraud. Similarly the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have whistleblower programs.

Pursuing a Claim

The IRS whistleblower law does not allow an individual to pursue such a case on their own, Instead, whistleblowers file relevant information under pain and penalty of perjury with a form provided by the IRS (Form 211) and any relevant information. The IRS is responsible to pursue the claim and should they collect funds the whistleblower would be entitled to an award. Since the False Claims Act specifically excludes cases filed to obtain tax funds, the IRS whistleblower provision is the manner in which tax fraud cases may be pursued at the federal level.

Necessary Requirements

These reward laws now include a provision under which the IRS must provide a share of funds collected as a result of receiving information from Whistleblowers To obtain an award under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 7623(b), whistleblowers must provide information leading to an IRS recovery involving a minimum of $2 million in controversy.

There are many different requirements to filing with each of these offices and they cover conduct and claims which may be different but the same illegal conduct may violate each of these laws or only one of these laws. It is important to review their requirements carefully with a whistleblower lawyer before pursuing an action under any whistleblower law.

Developing a Rapport With a Lawyer

It is important that whistleblowers develop a rapport with their lawyers because of how difficult blowing the whistle can be can be, and because whistleblower cases can take a great deal of time., Usually, the whistleblower is dependent upon the government agency corroborating the allegations to have a chance at success with the case. This can take some time. In many cases the only person the whistleblower can confide in about the allegations is their attorney. Contact a whistleblower lawyer who can advocate for you.