NEW YORK, Oct. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Bentham IMF, the world's first commercial litigation funder and a leader in the industry, has launched an initiative to provide extensive resources to whistleblowers. The initiative offers whistleblowers a unique array of expertise and professional referrals throughout their protracted legal battles to expose fraud committed against the government. The initiative is the first of its kind and a response to government agency calls for whistleblowers to come forward when they have knowledge of such misconduct.
Without cost or obligation, Bentham will provide the following benefits to qualified whistleblowers:
- referrals to expert counsel with the highest levels of success securing government interventions and large settlements from defendants;
- access to advice and support from Chris Riedel, one of the most successful whistleblowers in US history and recipient of the Whistleblower of the Year Award;
- referral to one of the foremost whistleblower tax counsel for tax efficient strategies for whistleblower awards who can provide an overview of tax issues relevant to whistleblower awards; and
- referral to estate and financial planners who can help prepare whistleblowers for future awards.
"Fraud against the government – whether in health care, military contracting or other fields is widespread and corrosive to our society. Whistleblowers who expose fraud in their workplaces or by competitors must have a strong sense of justice and a great deal of courage. Bentham is determined to help these individuals with all the support they need," explained Bentham Chief Investment Officer Ralph Sutton. "Bentham's whistleblower funding initiative is our latest effort to provide not only funding, but additional critical resources needed for the long fight. In short, we are levelling the playing field in a new and innovative way."
In appropriate cases, Bentham will provide funding to whistleblowers to be used for working capital, debt repayment or living expenses. The company's expertise in funding five separate whistleblowers or their counsel in the past three years includes providing $3 million of working capital to a high-level executive for his new start-up business in a case involving healthcare fraud. The executive was able to launch the new business without debt or dilution of corporate equity. Bentham has also funded whistleblowers in multiple state false claims act cases in California. These investments and the needs of the whistleblowers in these cases led Bentham to consider how to more systematically assist whistleblowers.
The initiative will also make funds available to law firms with portfolios of whistleblower cases, a practice Bentham has successfully undertaken, which provides strategic capital to the firms for growth, expansion, lateral hires and other purposes. For example, a law firm received strategic capital from Bentham collateralized by a series of qui tam cases involving overbilling of the US government for computer networking equipment.
"What Bentham sees is exactly the need I had a decade ago when my medical testing laboratory, Hunter Lab, blew the whistle on a pattern of fraud perpetrated against Medi-Cal," said Chris Riedel. "It took me many years to recover what was then the largest settlement in any state whistleblower case, $300 million. I needed Bentham's funding, which was not available during those financially challenging years," he added. "Bentham's commitment to fair play and the fight against fraud is real. And I plan to personally assist relators through Bentham's whistleblower funding initiative, when possible," Riedel said.
A leading whistleblower scholar, Professor David Engstrom, who studies the entire range of federal and state issues at Stanford University Law School, had this perspective on the Bentham initiative: "Successful whistleblowers will often endure over five years of grueling litigation. If Bentham funding and referrals can systematically assist qualified whistleblowers, it will be a quantum leap forward for these individuals and companies. I wish more funders would address these needs."
Please visit the whistleblower page on the Bentham website for additional details.