In recent years, there has been an increase in whistleblower cases filed by the Department of Defense. This is in part a result of a heavier reliance on private security companies and contractors. The result has been an increase of defense contract fraud. When a contractor or company employed by the department of defense is engaging in illegal, fraudulent, or dangerous activities, their actions qualify as defense contract fraud.
Examples of Defense Contract Fraud
One example of such behavior could include billing the Department of Defense for services never performed. Furthermore, mismanaging government funds, or abusing their power as a government contractor also qualify. All of these actions, along with any illegal or unsafe activities, deserve punishment. However, the inspector general of the Department of Defense cannot have eyes everywhere. Because of this, they rely heavily on military members, government employees, and defense intelligence employees to report any evidence of misconduct by defense contractors.
Corrupt contractors may succeed in making a profit off of their illegal activities. However, the government prosecutes defense contract fraud harshly. Whistleblower cases can have various results, in some cases they end in a settlement while in others, a judge passes judgement.
Common Results of Defense Contract Fraud Whistleblower Cases
Below are some results of whistleblower cases associated with defense contract fraud:
- The defendant responsible for illegal use of government funds will plead guilty before the case goes to court. In a guilty plea, there is agreement on a settlement. These settlements are usually large. They represent of the amount of money the government lost as a result of their illegal activity. Whistleblowers involved in these cases are eligible for fifteen to 25 percent of recovered funds.
- The defendant will maintain their innocence and a lawsuit against them goes to court. If there is a guilty verdict, the defendant could pay damages well above the amount of money they stole. Any whistleblowers involved in the case are eligible for fifteen to 25 percent of the recovered funds.
- The defendant will maintain their innocence and a lawsuit against them goes to court. If there is an innocent verdict, they will not have to pay any damages to the United States government. If a whistleblower was involved in the case, they will not be offered any type of reward for their actions.
Any whistleblower case resulting in repayment of illegally obtained government funds is a success. However, in order to succeed, whistleblowers need adequate evidence of fraud and a talented defense contract fraud lawyer. When you hire the right lawyer, they can help you gather evidence. This will increase your chances of winning your lawsuit.
Find out what you need to know about whistleblower cases by calling 770.643.1606 to connect with our team at Bothwell Law Group.
Sounding the alarm on a company that has been defrauding the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) department for years is a major step that requires an IRS whistleblower attorney. Not only will you clear your conscience by taking action, but you will also put thousands of dollars back into the economy once the intruder is caught and brought to justice.
It’s important to note—you cannot begin to accuse a business of this serious crime without evidence to support your claim. An experienced attorney can help build and execute your case.
Finding the Right IRS Whistleblower Attorney
It’s not enough to just look the part of an attorney and have the appropriate credentials. For the best outcome possible, your lawyer should have the following skills and experience:
- Good Communication Skills: Any lawyer, regardless of his or her area of specialty, should have strong communication skills. It is difficult to convey facts about the case if the attorney does not know how to hold a basic conversation with you.
- A Track Record of Success: Hiring a lawyer fresh out of graduate school is not the best option when reporting something as critical as fraud. You need a professional who has several years of field experience with a portfolio of winning cases.
- Experience in Whistleblower Law: Your attorney needs to have experience in this particular field, because it is unique and comes with challenges not typical of most legal cases. It is even better if the attorney you select has worked with the type of fraud central to your case. Choosing an experienced IRS whistleblower attorney will give you peace of mind and the confidence you need to move forward in your case.
The IRS Whistleblower Attorney at Work
Before conducting research, your attorney will likely ask you (the client) a series of questions. Inquiries such as, “Where did you hear such information?” and “How do you know this to be true?” are common questions, as the lawyer wants to ensure the evidence is factual and not hearsay.
After establishing the details, the whistleblower attorney determines under which law the fraud has been committed. This is why it is crucial to choose a lawyer who has experience in IRS embezzlement to represent your case. Lawyers who do not practice in this particular niche may not be well-versed on tax laws. They also may use incorrect codes and statutes when executing their defense.
A qualified IRS whistleblower attorney understands that a case may drag on for several years because the government often conducts a thorough investigation of its own in instances where fraud may exist. The right lawyer should be in constant communication with the client to give updates along the way. The attorney will also ensure the whistleblower receives compensation for their time and energy if the claim is proven legitimate.
Bothwell Law Group is ready to guide you through the process of your case. Contact us today at (770) 643-1606.
If you’ve been asking, “ What is whistleblowing? ” here’s the definition straight from Merriam-Webster: An informant who exposes wrongdoing within an organization in the hope of stopping it.
At a high level, this seems straightforward; a moral obligation even. But before you go forward with a qui tam lawsuit (aka- whistleblower lawsuit), it’s a good idea to understand your legal protections, and their limitations.
Within the False Claims Act is a specific anti-retaliation clause that (in theory) protects potential whistleblowers from employer retaliation “because of lawful acts done by the employee…in furtherance of an action.” This includes protection from being fired, suspended, demoted, or otherwise harassed, and applies whether or not a lawsuit has actually been filed.
However, to avail yourself of this clause, the employee must prove the action taken was a result of an employee participating in an FCA action, that the employer knew about the action, and the employer then discriminated against the employee as a result. If you can prove retaliatory discrimination or other adverse action, your employer is liable for damages. They must also reinstate you, and return your employment conditions to their original state.
Other Items to Consider If You’re a Whistleblower
While legal protection is helpful, there are other ramifications you may want to consider when determining whether or not to bring a qui tam lawsuit.
- You can still lose your job. Yes, you are protected by the anti-retaliatory provision. But you’ll have to take that case to court, and win, based on proof. Sometimes employers can successfully fire an employee for an unrelated, but justified cause. It can be as simple as stealing a pen which, in theory, is company property.
- You’re blacklisted. While most prospective employers should be thankful you’re honest, it doesn’t always work out that way. Even companies with nothing to hide may be reluctant to hire you, which can make it quite difficult to secure an equal job in the future. If you’re in a well-connected industry, such as defense contracting, this can be especially difficult.
- You may face legal consequences. If you were an active participant in the original crime, you may be found liable for any criminal charges filed after the lawsuit. True, you may receive a lighter sentence; but if you think you’re likely to face punishment as a key piece of the fraud being perpetrated you’ll have to factor it in to your decision.
- You potentially violate professional and contractual obligations. While the impact isn’t strictly legal, you could still face a civil suit or stiff fines. Non-disclosure and secrecy agreements can be quite binding, especially in industries that rely on confidentiality (i.e. defense contractors).
All of these are potential items to consider when deciding whether or not to file a qui tam lawsuit against a defense contractor or healthcare provider. When weighing the pros and cons, it’s best to engage legal counsel who can talk you through your risk of exposure, impacts, and potential mitigation strategies you have available.
Looking for Experienced Legal Counsel before Making a Decision?
Contact Bothwell Law Group today. Get a better understanding of what whistleblowing is, and identify any potential consequences by calling 770.643.1606.