Why come forward as a Whistleblower?
I’m often asked, why come forward as a whistleblower? Because the Department of Justice can’t fight fraud alone. It needs individuals inside companies with knowledge of what’s going on—people who are trying to “do the right thing”—to share information with the Justice Department. The opioid crisis is a good example. DOJ needs to hear from whistleblowers with knowledge of wrongdoing who work for health care providers, labs, rehab clinics, drug insurance plans, pharmacy benefits managers (PBMSs), and pharmacies. The Justice Department has made opioid fraud one of its enforcement priorities. Another example is Medicare fraud of every variety. In a single recent year nearly $90 Billion Medicare and Medicaid dollars were misspent. That number increases every year. There’s a lot of misspent dollars to be recovered on behalf of taxpayers. And, there are retaliation protections for whistleblowers who help the Justice Department and potential rewards under the False Claims Act. And, you could receive a percentage of a recovery.
“Doing the right thing” requires a certain amount of what I would call “sustained and healthy anger” directed at the wrongdoer. New York Times-best selling author Tom Mueller reminds of this in a Washington Post article and a book he’s written called“Crisis of Conscience: Whistleblowing in an Age of Fraud. From my experience at the Justice Department, unchecked corporate power is what usually lies behind bad acts. Anyone working in the corporate world can be an effective whistleblower, regardless of their pay grade. We all have eyes and ears. The False Claims Act is successful because of whistleblowers who are often not corporate-level executives but rather the “boots on the ground.”
The authors of this blog are former prosecutors who represent whistleblowers: Renée Brooker (DOJ Assistant Director) firstname.lastname@example.org (202) 288-1295 and Eva Gunasekera (DOJ Senior Counsel for Health Care Fraud) email@example.com
Are you a Whistleblower?
Are you asking yourself, am I a whistleblower? Well, you may be. Do you have knowledge and proof that your company is cheating the government or taxpayers of money? Are you willing to come forward and share that information with the Department of Justice? If you have good information, you may receive a reward under the False Claims Act. Whistleblowers are usually good people trying to “do the right thing”—current or former employees with knowledge of wrongful conduct, people with expertise of industry practices, people inside companies. We’ve seen good whistleblowers come from every industry—pharmaceutical, defense contractors, health care industry, financial services—you name it. Because virtually every industry gets money from the government—directly or indirectly.
Are there rewards for being a Whistleblower?
There are financial rewards for being a whistleblower under the False Claims Act. The False Claims Act encourages anyone with inside knowledge that a company is cheating the government or taxpayers of money to come forward and bring that information to the attention of the Department of Justice. You may be entitled to receive a percentage of the Justice Department’s recovery. The False Claims Act also offers certain protections against whistleblowing for retaliation. What kinds of information is the Department of Justice looking for? The Department of Justice is looking for good information that any company has cheated any government-funded program like Medicare and Medicaid or government contracts or government-insured loans. There’re potentially billions of dollars in misspent taxpayer dollars to be recovered.