Whistleblower Litigation

Helping Whistleblowers Expose Fraud

In theory, the decision to blow the whistle on a fraudulent practice should be an easy one. In reality, however, we understand that the decision requires extensive analysis and weighing of factors to evaluate whether the risk is worth the reward. The attorneys at Robbins LLP understand the considerations you will face. We will help you navigate the decision-making process and be by your side throughout the duration of the case.

What Is The False Claims Act?

America’s first whistleblower law is known as the False Claims Act (FCA). In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the law to target fraud in government contracting and against the government during wartime.

Amendments to the FCA passed in 1986 had several effects:

  • Substantially expanded the roles of whistleblowers
  • Increased financial incentives for reporting wrongdoing
  • Reduced obstacles to bringing cases against alleged wrongdoers who had reportedly submitted false and fraudulent claims to the federal government
The FCA makes it a crime for any person or organization to knowingly submit a false claim to the government and imposes civil penalties for each false claim made. The FCA allows individuals with firsthand knowledge of such false claims, known as relators, to file a lawsuit for violations of the FCA on behalf of the government. This is called a qui tam action.
Whistleblowers have filed approximately 10,000 qui tam actions under the FCA in the past 35 years and have recovered more than $59 billion.
Once a qui tam action is filed, the government is required to investigate the allegations in the complaint. After the government completes its investigation, the government will either intervene and take on primary responsibility for prosecuting the action or will decline to take over the action and allow the relator to proceed with the case personally.
Because of the vital role whistleblowers play in fighting fraud against the government, if the qui tam action is successful, the relator is entitled to recover 15%-30% of the government’s recovery. Whistleblowers who identify and report FCA violations are also afforded protection against employer retaliation.

What Are Examples Of False Claims?

A false claim includes schemes that result in a loss of money to the federal government. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Inflating the price of a product
  • Overcharging for more than what was provided
  • Charging for one product and delivering another
  • Kickbacks
  • Medicare and Medicaid fraud, including billing for unnecessary medical procedures
  • Illegal marketing of drugs by pharmaceutical companies
  • Underpaying the federal government
  • Failing to provide a service contract
  • Producing or delivering less than the agreed-upon number of goods
  • Providing defective goods to the government
  • Wrongfully obtaining federal funds

What Types Of Fraud Does The False Claims Act Cover?

  • Defense contract fraud
  • Health care fraud, including Medicare and Medicaid fraud
  • Tax fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Energy fraud and false claims
  • Construction and procurement fraud
  • Pharmaceutical fraud
  • Hospital and emergency room fraud
  • Other types of fraud against the government
  • Wrongfully obtaining federal funds

What Is The SEC Whistleblower Program?

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Whistleblower Program went into effect on July 21, 2010, when President Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. According to the SEC, “[a]ssistance and information from a whistleblower who knows of possible securities law violations can be among the most powerful weapons in [its] law enforcement arsenal.” The SEC recognizes that whistleblowers are uniquely qualified to help it identify possible fraud early and allow the SEC to minimize harm to investors, preserve the integrity of the country’s capital markets and hold accountable those responsible for unlawful conduct.
Whistleblowers who voluntarily provide original information to assist the SEC in recovering monetary sanctions in an amount over $1 million are eligible to receive awards of 10%-30% of the money collected. As of March 2020, the SEC has issued awards totaling over $396 million to 77 individuals. The SEC Whistleblower Program also offers certain protections against employer retaliation.
The SEC Whistleblower Program encourages tip submissions from individuals with “specific” and “credible” information about a material violation of the federal securities laws. According to the SEC’s 2019 Annual Report to Congress on the Whistleblower Program, the office received 5,212 tips in 2019. It is therefore imperative that the tip submitted be thorough and compelling, demonstrates the violation was “material,” includes documentation of the violation and makes it as easy as possible for the SEC to conclude that the alleged violation is worth pursuing. A whistleblower award will only be issued if the whistleblower complies with all of the SEC’s prescribed procedures. Therefore, if you have information on a federal securities law violation, you should engage the help of a whistleblower lawyer who has experience submitting tips to the SEC.

What Violations Qualify For A Claim Through The SEC Whistleblower Program?

  • Manipulation of a security’s price or volume
  • Fraudulent or unregistered offer or sale of securities
  • Insider trading
  • False or misleading statements about a company
  • A company’s failure to file required reports with the SEC
  • Theft or misappropriation of funds or securities
  • Fraudulent conduct or other problems with municipal securities transactions or public pension plans
  • Bribery of foreign officials

No-Cost Representation

What does it cost to bring a whistleblower action? Nothing. Robbins LLP represents whistleblowers on a contingency fee basis, meaning we advance all attorney fees and expenses incurred by the litigation. If we are successful on behalf of the whistleblower, we will seek to have the court approve our attorney fee request, which will be paid by the company and/or their insurance carriers. Robbins LLP never seeks reimbursement for attorney fees or costs directly from our whistleblower clients.

Thinking Of Blowing The Whistle?

Robbins LLP’s whistleblower attorneys have experience representing individuals who expose fraudulent activity under the False Claims Act and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program and can guide you through the process of filing your claim or submitting your tip so you can hold the wrongdoers accountable and prevent them from causing further harm. If you have information about fraud in violation of the securities laws or the False Claims Act, please contact our whistleblower attorneys online or at 1-800-850-6003.