NEW YORK, Feb. 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Potential whistleblowers have many questions from the start of their case, but one of the most common ones that whistleblower advisors see time and time again is "will I get paid for whistleblowing?" Monetary rewards for exposing fraud against the government do exist, but there are rules you must follow as a potential whistleblower to be eligible for them. Non-attorney whistleblower advocates, Fraud Expert Advisors, know the best path to follow for your eligibility, alongside the answer to the delicate monetary question at hand. Keep on reading to see if you could potentially receive a reward for blowing the whistle on fraud.
Some quick history: When committing to the idea of exposing employer fraud, potential whistleblowers usually prepare for potential retaliation from coworkers, managers, and even the company themselves, depending on the severity of the case. Since there are so many uncertain risks involved when blowing the whistle, the government sought to ensure there were rewards in place for those who chose to stand up against their employers and expose their illegal activities. For this reason, whistleblower relator rewards were put in place.
About Relator Rewards: Used as a form of financial incentive for whistleblowers to step forward, relator rewards are usually a percentage between 15% and 30% of the monetary damages gained from the wrongdoer's settlement, given to the whistleblower who opened the case. These lawsuits are brought up through the Qui Tam provision of the False Claims Act, and are dubbed Qui Tam Lawsuits.
What do I need to do to be eligible for a relator reward? From the beginning of your case, there are certain actions you must take to prevent yourself from being disqualified for a relator reward. To be an eligible whistleblower you must have firsthand knowledge of the fraud, having seen direct evidence or been involved in the illegal proceedings unknowingly. In addition to having firsthand knowledge of the fraud, you must keep the "seal" on it; this means that you cannot discuss the case with anybody. When a case is "sealed", nobody outside of you, those involved in the case, and the government can know about the case. Breaking the "seal" could lead to your reward being severely limited or entirely eliminated. If you participated in the fraud unknowingly or by force, you can still be eligible for a smaller relator reward. If you were a major proponent of the fraud or are self-reporting, then you are immediately disqualified from receiving a relator reward for the case.
How can I receive a bigger relator reward? While there's a legal minimum and maximum on whistleblower relator rewards, there are certain actions you can take to potentially increase the final reward. The first way is through the quality of your information; the more detailed and thorough your collected case evidence is as a company insider, the more likely you are to receive a better reward. The next way is through the timeframe of action; the faster the fraud was detected and reported, the more favorable their reward may be, as the whistleblower could have avoided much more potential damage being done in the future. Finally, the last way you could potentially see a higher reward is through litigation assistance; if you as a whistleblower, alongside your attorney, assist the case investigators and prosecutors, your case could be looked at benevolently through the government, potentially increasing your final relator reward.
If it hasn't already been made clear, there is no definitive answer to the question of getting paid as a whistleblower. There are many ins and outs of Qui Tam law, with a series of limitations and stipulations regulating relator rewards. However, most whistleblowers do receive relator rewards, even if they are of varying sums and percentages; there was a 2012 Pharmaceutical Qui Tam Lawsuit that settled for $762 million ($612 million civil settlement), in which the relator reward was over $92 million USD! However, even if there is no guarantee you will be paid, it is a great feeling knowing you are representing the moral good by reporting fraud when you see it happening.
About Fraud Expert Advisors (FEA): Fraud Expert Advisors are not attorneys; they are a community of whistleblowers ready to advise others on what it's like to become a whistleblower and guide those seeking to blow the whistle on fraud through the often-daunting legal process. FEA provides a safe space for whistleblowers to share information and experiences, while addressing any concerns and uncertainties regarding fraud claims. FEA has recovered billions of dollars in the past five years in consulting whistleblowers facing against big and small businesses alike, speaking to their ability to instill the confidence needed to step forward as a whistleblower. Put your trust into an FEA advisor today if you think your employer is engaging in fraud or other illegal activities.
SOURCE Fraud Expert Advisors