Don’t blow the whistle until you know what to expect when you become a whistleblower in a Medicaid fraud case.
Knowing without a doubt that someone is doing wrong is enough reason to become a whistleblower in a Medicaid fraud case, right? In a perfect world, you would come forward with the information, and the guilty party gets sentenced. You become a hero, and everyone sings your praises. However, this is not always the case.
We do not live in a perfect, honest society. Medicaid fraud is rampant. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that this type of fraud costs states billions of dollars per year. If you know something, the government wants you to speak up. But, becoming a whistleblower is not as simple as it may sound.
Here are the top things you should know before choosing to become a whistleblower:
Your Word Isn’t Always Enough Proof
Even if you know without a shadow of a doubt that someone is committing fraud, your word isn’t proof enough. To investigate further, authorities need more evidence. Sure, if you call and make a formal complaint, they will look deeper into the matter. That doesn’t mean, however, that they will ever collect enough evidence to make an arrest.
What makes it so difficult to gather evidence? The Fourth Amendment puts limits on how authorities can search and collect evidence. It protects citizens from unwarranted searches and seizures. To legally search a suspect’s property, the authorities must have probable cause. They must also obtain a warrant. Even if you know that someone is guilty, your word may not provide enough probable cause to further the investigation.
However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a complaint or report someone. If the fraud is blatant, your word may be all it takes to initiate the case. Authorities may have enough information from your testimony to open a case and convict the perpetrators.
You May Face Retaliation
Coming forward with information is the right thing to do, but it’s not always safe. Unfortunately, many whistleblowers become targets for retaliation. In many cases, these cases involve a network of individuals. It’s rare for only a single person to run a scam of this nature. If you stop their money-making venture, you may find yourself a victim of retaliation.
There are many different levels of retaliation. Some people may see you as a traitor and treat you differently at work or in private. It’s not uncommon for the accused party to fire, demote, suspend, or monetarily punish a whistleblower. A whistleblower may experience public shaming or harmful threats. Retaliation is illegal, but the law is not always correctly understood or enforced.
While the federal government offers protections to whistleblowers in many cases, these laws vary from state to state. Some states only protect whistleblowers in the public sector and not those who work for a private employer. A lawyer can help explain the different whistleblower laws for your area.
You May Receive a Large Cash Payout
The law allows whistleblowers to collect a considerable cash sum after settlement. This amount may vary, but it usually falls somewhere between 15-30 percent of the settlement figure. The percentage varies on the type and location of the case. For most whistleblowers, the possibility of receiving a cash payout is very enticing. And in many cases, it’s the only reason someone chooses to come forward.
However, be aware that the final settlement amount determines the amount you will receive. Many cases settle for much less than the initial complaint. You may not receive the compensation amount you initially expected. Weighing the pros and cons of a cash payout is important. For example, will you lose your job as a result of becoming a whistleblower? How long will the case last? You may find yourself waiting several years before the case finally closes.
You Need Legal Counsel
Whistleblowers have helped solve many Medicaid fraud cases. Authorities rely on others to provide information to help convict guilty parties. If you have information that could crack open a fraud case, you should consider alerting the proper authorities. But, before you do, it’s best to hire an attorney to represent you.
As a whistleblower in a Medicaid fraud case, you may find yourself in a stressful or dangerous situation. Others will try to stop you from talking. You may feel unsure of how to proceed. You need someone who knows the law and how to protect you. An attorney will guide you through the legal process. This will help you maintain your safety, privacy, and integrity throughout the entire case.
The legal team at Bothwell Law Group represents clients who are a whistleblower in a Medicaid fraud case. Whistleblowers run into resistance at every turn. A whistleblower lawyer will help you navigate these turbulent waters with ease. Contact the skilled Medicaid fraud whistleblower attorneys at Bothwell Law Group by calling 770.643.1606 today.