As the healthcare industry grows, government programs increase in scope and size, and the tax base expands, the federal government will have a more difficult time defending itself from the fraud of wrongdoers. Unscrupulous individuals often attempt to defraud the government (and taxpayers’) of money.
Perpetrators of fraud will use tactics like overbilling the government for their reimbursement programs or contracts. The most common targets for fraud are government healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Government contractors are also common perpetrators of fraud.
Because of the threat of fraud, federal and state laws allow ordinary citizens to bring civil actions on behalf of the government against perpetrators of fraud. These civil actions are known as qui tam lawsuits. Depending on the circumstances, individuals who file successful qui tam claims are entitled to between 10% and 30% of a subsequent verdict or settlement.
Whistleblowers who help the government recover money in these civil suits are known as “relators.” In some cases, relators do not need an attorney to file a whistleblower lawsuit, known as pro se representation, while other times legal counsel is required by law.
Can I represent myself pro se in a False Claims Act case?
No, individuals are required to have qualified legal representation when filing a qui tam False Claims Act lawsuit. Whistleblowers may not file a pro se lawsuit. There are many reasons why you need a lawyer to file a False Claims Act lawsuit.
Because the government incurred the injury in the first place, the right to file suit ultimately belongs to them. The government makes it a matter of policy for individuals to be represented by an attorney. The courts agree and have expressed the rationale for restricting the conduct of non-lawyers in False Claims Act lawsuits.
In the eyes of the courts, non-lawyers often file pleadings which are awkwardly written, inarticulately present motions, and initiate needless proceedings. Lawyers are also under special ethical codes of conduct for how they must conduct their business, private citizens have no such obligations.
Do I need an IRS tax whistleblower lawyer?
Individuals who are neither attorneys nor accountants do not need an attorney to file an IRS tax whistleblower claim. Whistleblowers may file a pro se IRS tax lawsuit. However, due to the complexities of tax law and intricacies of dealing with the IRS we strongly encourage whistleblowers to seek the aid of an IRS tax whistleblower lawyer. There are many aspects to consider when filing an IRS tax whistleblower claim. These considerations include time, complexity presenting the claim to the IRS, and the legality of how tax documents were obtained.
The process of filing and ultimately collecting an IRS tax whistleblower reward is complicated and can take a long time. Taxpayers charged with underpayment of taxes have significant appeal rights and will most likely exercise these rights. Even when a favorable outcome to the whistleblower has been reached, the IRS may underpay the whistleblower, which may initiate an appeals process. An IRS tax whistleblower lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and give you the best chance to recover the greatest sum of money.
Do I need an SEC/CFTC whistleblower lawyer?
Whistleblowers wishing to file an anonymous claim with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) must do so through an attorney. Otherwise, there are no requirements for whistleblowers to have an attorney when filing a claim with the SEC or CFTC. Individuals may file a pro se whistleblower claim under the respective SEC and CFTC programs, but are required to retain counsel if they wish to remain anonymous.
As with most other lawsuits, filing an SEC/CFTC whistleblower claim is time consuming, complex, expensive, and requires finesse when dealing with federal regulators. We encourage whistleblowers filing claims with the SEC and CFTC to seek the counsel of a qualified attorney.
Whistleblowers must provide investigators with as much information as possible in order to receive maximum financial compensation. Rewards given are based on the significance of information and assistance given to investigators. Attorneys assisting in SEC/CFTC whistleblowers claims can help maximize rewards by coordinating these actions and convey to investigators the significance and legal impact of a whistleblower’s efforts.