You’ve probably heard stories about someone in the defense industry becoming a federal whistleblower. The person came across fraud of some sort, and then took action to turn in the perpetrators to the government. The trial was long and arduous, taking months, or even years, to complete.
Doing so earned them the title of “whistleblower” and possibly blacklisted them in the industry for the rest of their lives. So why would someone decide to go through with it?
Well, there are a number of reasons you might consider it, but here are a few of the most common:
Is Whistleblowing All about the Money?
With the U.S. spending over $500 billion every year on national defense, the sheer volume of transactions is staggering. This makes oversight phenomenally difficult, and the opportunity for fraud quite high. Even if only 5% of the industry was fraudulent, that is still a $25 billion slice of the pie.
However, the government understands they have a weak spot, and so they implemented the False Claims Act. Among other things, the Act has a provision for rewarding anyone who turns in a company perpetrating fraud. Depending on their role, the size, scope, and impact, the person blowing the whistle stands to receive as much as 30% of the funds recovered.
True, the average amount runs about 16%; but if the fraud is significant enough, it can still mean a huge payday. The whistleblower reward record tops $100 million. That’s more than most lottery jackpots!
Reporting Fraud Is a Patriotic Duty
Sometimes the type of fraud being exposed involves the provision of products and services which don’t meet the agreed upon standards. This was the reason the False Claims Act, also known as the Lincoln Act, was originally put in place during the Civil War.
Contractors agreed to provide items like boots, horses, and munitions of a particular quality for a set price. Instead, they supplied sub-par products (think: weevil-filled flour, boots with holes in the soles, and lame horses near death). The cost of these provisions was much less than what they made on the contract, and the fraudsters pocketed the remaining funds. Needless to say, this led to countless lives lost, and a massive deterioration in morale.
Modern day equivalents could be something like inferior body armor. While it may look fine on the surface, and withstand a single bullet strike, multiple bullet strikes would compromise the protective integrity and lead to significant trauma or death.
Ethical or Moral Objections Lead to Whistleblowing
At the end of the day, some people’s conscience just cannot be quieted. Similar in ways to patriotic duty, the mere fact of KNOWING something is wrong or illegal is enough to drive certain people to take action. The money is a nice bonus but, for them, it’s more about a clear line between right and wrong.
Interested in Learning More About the False Claims Act and Whistleblowing?
Find out what you need to know about becoming a federal whistleblower by calling our legal team at Bothwell Law Group at 770.643.1606 now