Why should you go to an experienced qui tam law firm when you are building a whistleblower case? When you need to get something done right, you want advice from the experts, right? If you’re looking to invest in stocks, you find a Wall Street broker for the best tips. If you’re redecorating your home, you call a top designer. If you’re building a whistleblower case, you look to experienced qui tam law firms for tips.
Are you considering a whistleblower case? Keep in mind these nine tips from Bothwell Law Group:
1. Get a qualified attorney.
The single most important thing you can do as a whistleblower is to hire an experienced attorney. You need a lawyer familiar with the whistleblower laws and one who is familiar with the entire process. Not only can a good attorney help you determine if you have a whistleblower case, but he will keep your best interests in mind throughout the whole process.
Your employer will look out for their protection, and the government’s prime concern is the recovery of the assets fraudulently taken from them. Hire a qualified attorney who knows all the ins and outs of whistleblowing to help you protect your job and recover your reward.
2. Keep copies.
When you bring evidence of the fraud to either your employers or to the attorney general, make sure you keep copies of everything. You may never need them, but if you do, they’re invaluable. Also, keep copies of any positive remarks about your employment, such as reviews and recommendations. These are important if your employer attempts any retaliation disguised as a work performance issue.
3. Document everything.
If you’re considering building a whistleblower case, it’s imperative to document everything you can. Keep track of dates, conversations between involved parties, appointments that might be pertinent and anything else that might be related to the fraud. Keep a hard copy of everything, not just a digital copy. If your only documentation is on the computer and something happens to your hard drive, you will be left with nothing
4. Report to authorities promptly.
Once you’ve determined that fraud is going on, you need to report it, face to face, to the attorney general of your state. There are statutes of limitations for whistleblower cases. Also, only the original reporter is eligible for a reward. By delaying too long, you are taking the chance of someone else reporting the activity, and you lose any opportunity for the reward of up to 15%-25% of the amount of money recovered.
5. Save some cash.
Whistleblower laws protect you against any retaliation at your job. According to the law, you cannot be fired or passed over for promotions or wage increases. Harassment, in any way, including a change in hours, benefits or status, is against the law. Although the law is clear, that doesn’t mean your employer won’t try to dismiss you, forcing you to fight legally to get it back. If you can save some money before moving ahead with your suit, you will eliminate a significant amount of stress.
6. Keep it quiet.
Whistleblower cases are kept under seal while the government investigates the case. The seal means everything is kept anonymous and private. You are not allowed to discuss any of the particulars of your case, or even the fact that an investigation is taking place. Don’t risk the situation by speaking about it to the press or anyone else until the court seal is removed.
7. Be specific.
You’ve heard the adage about the three most important things in real estate being location, location, location. In a whistleblower case, it could be said the three most important things are specifics, specifics, specifics. Keep track of exact dates, timecards, participants in phone conversations or meetings, dollar amounts, billing dates, and any other details you have. The more specifics you provide, the tighter your case will be.
8. Be careful about whom you trust.
Whistleblowing is not something to take lightly. It’s a matter of felony fraud at a federal level, which can mean serious prison time and hefty fines if proven to be false reporting. Many times, the scam involves a significant number of people cooperating for a payoff. Be extremely careful whom you trust – especially at your job. You can’t be sure who might a part of the illegal activities – or who might blow the whistle on you and your suspicions. Make certain that what you think is happening actually is. Get copies of evidence and keep them offsite, never at work.
9. Don’t sign anything.
You may decide to bring your allegations to your employer before you go to an attorney. Many companies have specific procedures set up for reporting fraudulent activity or any other criminal behavior. Should you choose to do this, make sure you do not sign anything indicating an agreement to refrain from a lawsuit or showing any financial compensation in return for dropping the allegations. Not only will this eliminate any possibility of you receiving your rightful share of the recovered money, but it could also implicate you legally. Don’t sign anything until you show it to your attorney.
It’s possible to build a compelling qui tam case resulting in both knowing you helped right a wrong and receiving a potentially substantial reward. The first step is finding a law firm that knows how to help you. Visit us Bothwell Law Group online to learn more about the benefits of working with experienced qui tam law firms.