Washington, DC, Baltimore, Maryland, Virginia law firm protecting whistleblowers
Federal law entitles those with knowledge of fraud against the government to become protected whistleblowers and report misuse of taxpayers’ funds by companies and individuals. In order to promote the recovery of taxpayers’ funds, the law provides whistleblowers with the right to share in any money the government recovers after a settlement or trial. This can translate to a significant compensation reward.
If you know about fraud committed with public funds, you can file what’s known as a “qui tam” claim to become a whistleblower. Qui tam is simply an abbreviation of a Latin term that translates to “he who sues in this matter for the king as well as for himself.” In the whistleblower context, it means these lawsuits are filed on behalf of the government as well as the individual plaintiff.
At The Cochran Firm, D.C., our team of top-rated lawyers prosecutes False Claims Act qui tam matters on behalf of whistleblowers. We are here to protect private citizens and government employees who have challenged, questioned, or reported a company practice or policy that defrauds the government and taxpayers. Contact an experienced qui tam lawyer to determine your best legal options.
Whistleblower claims and the first-to-file deadline
Important deadlines apply to whistleblower claims. In order to file a valid qui tam claim, the plaintiff must be the first to file a case under the False Claims Act.
This first-to-file rule prevents individuals from filing subsequent whistleblower cases based on the same essential facts. Because of this strict rule, it is imperative that whistleblowers contact an experienced qui tam attorney as soon as possible in order to preserve a claim. If someone files a claim before you, it may be much more difficult or impossible to bring a whistleblower case.
The first-to-file rule is meant to encourage prompt reporting by whistleblowers of fraudulent activity promptly. It also deters duplicate claims that consume the court system’s limited resources. In practice, it means that a critical deadline applies to a whistleblower case that determines whether an individual is eligible for monetary awards. Therefore, if you are aware of government fraud, do not delay and contact The Cochran Firm, D.C. as soon as possible. It is essential that you are the first person to file your fraud claim.
False Claims Act claims are confidential during the investigation
If you’re concerned about publicity and possible retaliation from filing a qui tam claim, rest assured that all False Claims Act matters are filed with the court under seal. This means it is not publicly disclosed during the investigation period and may only be dealt with by the proper government officials. While the case is being investigated, the defendant you filed the claim against will not even be aware of your claim. The public policy reason for filing claims “under seal” is so that government officials may investigate the case without the defendant’s interference. If the government opts to join the claim, the case is unsealed and the defendant will receive a copy of the claim.
In certain circumstances, the whistleblower will even receive guaranteed anonymity throughout a case. The Dodd-Frank Act provides such protection for whistleblowers who want to keep their identity from being made public. The whistleblower attorneys of The Cochran Firm, D.C. can analyze your case and determine what you can expect with regard to your claim and anonymity.
Common reasons for whistleblower lawsuits
Some of the typical reasons qui tam whistleblower claims are filed in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia include:
- Double billing
- Non-GAAP bookkeeping
- Defense contractor fraud
- Violation of manufacturing specifications
- Unauthorized purchasing of government property
- Medicare fraud
- Deliberate delays
- Securities fraud
- Billing for unfinished work product
- Bid rigging
- Developing unneeded features or services
- Non-compliance with specifications of government contract
- Delivery low quality products
Recent legislation provides further rewards and protections for whistleblowers
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Whistleblower Protect Act, the No FEAR Act, and the False Claims Act have all provided additional rewards and protections for whistleblowers. For example, Dodd-Frank grants some whistleblowers a reward of 10-30% where a claim merits a fine of $1,000,000 or greater.
Common subjects of whistleblower claims
Whistleblower suits often arise from the following government contracting and commercial industry sectors:
- Research grants
- Government suppliers
- Construction and public works
- Loan guarantee
- Pharmaceutical marketing and manufacturing
- Municipal bonds
- Contact experienced whistleblower attorneys today
With historic amounts of money being paid out by the federal government through programs like the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), it is critical to our nation’s fiscal well-being that fraudulent behavior is stamped out. If you believe you are ready to blow the whistle on fraud and corruption, contact the experienced qui tam attorneys of The Cochran Firm, D.C. We are dedicated to fighting corruption and fraud on behalf of the taxpaying public.