Will the IRS Whistleblower Program and the False Claims Act be powerful weapons in redressing the fraud and abuse that led to the current financial crisis–and to the future fraud and abuse that is certain to target the “bailout” billions of taxpayer funds?
Fraud and abuse have never been in short supply. The ongoing financial crisis points to staggering amounts of past financial abuses that now threaten to wipe out Americans’ savings, if not undermine the world economy.
Now, the federal government’s stated plans to spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer funds for the “bailout”–largely because of the lack of past oversight–will create countless opportunities for more fraud against the taxpayers.
In the Savings and Loan debacle, a judge asked, “Where were the lawyers?” Where were those who could have spoken out and stopped those abuses before they caused ruinous harm?
Today, the toxic loans, collateralized debt obligations, and credit default swaps that infect our financial system raise a broader question: how many persons failed to speak out to try to stop their corrupting misuse?
Scoundrels depend on silence from others while they loot the public fisc. To stop the looting, Americans (and others) must stand up, and speak up.
Whistleblowers will be essential to minimizing the theft of the bailout billions, through the IRS Whistleblower Program and the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, on which we have written extensively. Each allows private citizen whistleblowers to help the government recover taxpayer funds, and rewards the whistleblowers with what is typically 15-30% of the funds recovered.
It will be justice to see those whistleblowers courageous enough to speak up share in the government’s recovery of the billions already lost, and the billions more of taxpayer funds that are about to be spent.