How to File a Whistleblower Claim: The Seven Steps to Earning a Reward

Page Pate explains how to file a successful whistleblower claim under the False Claims Act against a company that is defrauding the federal government

Our whistleblower attorneys have decades of experience helping people file whistleblower claims and report fraud against the federal government under the False Claims Act. We have helped whistleblowers recover millions of dollars in rewards for helping uncover fraud in government healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid, against major defense contractors, and in cases where importers commit customs fraud.

If you think you may have information of a company that is cheating the federal government in submitting excessive bills or making false claims, contact us immediately for a free and confidential consultation about your rights and the possibility of earning a significant financial reward.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Over the past 20 years, our law firm has helped a number of people come forward with evidence of fraud against the federal government. These are whistleblowers, and whistleblowers protect the taxpayers and they also stand to recover a significant financial reward when they’re able to find fraud against the federal government. Now, when I talk about whistleblowers, people think, “Well, is it UFO whistleblowers? Is it whistleblowers in a private company?” Well, it can be in a private company, but the critical thing for the whistleblowers that we represent is that they know about fraud against the federal government.

That’s usually billing fraud, something you may see in the healthcare industry where a doctor or other healthcare provider will bill for medical services that they never provided or services that are not medically necessary. That’s fraud against the federal government, and if you’re a whistleblower and you know about that, you can collect a reward. But it’s not just in the healthcare industry, defense contractors, any sort of service that’s provided by a company or individual to the federal government is ripe for fraud. If there’s anything wrong with those invoices, those bills, or if the products or services are not up to standard, that can be the basis for a whistleblower claim.

So if you have a whistleblower claim or you think that you do, what are the steps to bring one in federal court? There are basically seven steps to bringing a successful whistleblower claim. The first step is that you want to confirm that it’s actually a false claim. Now, that means that the claim involves fraud against the federal government. In some cases, we will get calls from people, say like a nurse who works for a doctor who bills Blue Cross or Blue Shield for medical services that they never provided. Well, that’s fraud, but that’s not a false claim under the whistleblower statute where we represent people. You have to be billing the federal government, Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare. That can be the basis for a false claim.

The second step is that you want to collect some evidence if possible. If you still work for the company, you may have access to documents like invoices, emails, medical records. You have to be careful about privacy issues, but it is critically important to be able to back up your case with some sort of evidence from the company that’s defrauding the government.

The third step, you need an experienced lawyer. Now, there are a lot of lawyers that will try to help people with whistleblower claims. You’re going to have a variety of law firms to talk to. What you should consider are a couple of things that I think are most important. Number one, does the law firm have experience in bringing successful whistleblower claims? Our firm has helped our clients and the government recover hundred million dollars and more in successfully pursuing a whistleblower case against private companies.

The second thing you’re going to want to consider is does this law firm have time for my case? Because in the whistleblower area, it is critically important that your law firm moves fast. The first whistleblower to come forward with evidence about fraud, that’s the person who’s going to recover the award. It’s a first to file standard. So the faster your law firm is able to move to help you, the more likely it is you’re going to be the one to recover the reward. So if you go with a big firm, they may have other cases, bigger cases, less likely to have the time and the attention to focus on your claim like we do at our firm.

The fourth step, once you’ve determined, you have a false claim and you found the right lawyer, that lawyer has to file a complaint, a formal allegation of what the fraud is and file that complaint under seal in federal court. Now, under seal just basically means that it’s secret. The reason that it’s secret is because you have to give the federal government time to investigate the case before it’s unsealed. During this period of time, while the complaint is under seal, you can’t talk about it. Certainly not at work, but not even with friends and family, because the company that’s being investigated is not supposed to know it’s under investigation at this point. The complaint may later be unsealed if the government decides to step in and help you recover that whistleblower reward.

The fifth step, during the time that the case is under investigation, the federal government may reach out to your lawyer and ask for your help. Maybe you’ll go to a meeting where you’ll talk with federal investigators about what you know about the company and this fraud. Maybe you have documents to provide them. Maybe even you’ll participate in recorded phone conversations with people who are engaged in the fraud. Whatever it is, the more you help the government pursue the person or company that committed the fraud, the more likely it is you will receive a reward and the bigger that reward will be.

Six, be patient with the process. Almost all of our whistleblower clients tend to get frustrated as the case drags on and on. But there’s a reason for that. The case remains under seal so that the government can investigate these claims. They’re not going to bring a whistleblower case unless they are solid, that they have the right facts to prove that the company is engaging in fraud against the federal government and that takes time. These cases can sometimes last for years, and it can be very frustrating not to be able to talk about what’s going on. But just remember the more the government investigates, the more likely it is they can pursue a significant claim and the more likely you will recover a financial reward.

That’s the final step. If the case is successful, if the government intervenes or you and your lawyer pursue the company on your own, at the end of the day, whatever amount that company has to pay back to the federal government, you will get a percentage of that as a reward. Now, the amount of that percentage will depend. It’ll depend on what you do to help the government, how big the case is, and maybe most importantly, how you and your lawyer helped the government pursue the fraud and bring the case to a successful conclusion.

So those are the seven steps to pursuing a successful whistleblower claim. If you think you have knowledge of a company committing fraud against the federal government, give us a call. We’ll be happy to talk to you about your case and it is completely confidential.

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Page Pate
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