Why You Should Hire a Whistleblower Attorney
3 reasons to seek the guidance of an experienced advocate.
3 reasons to seek the guidance of an experienced advocate.
Discovering fraud against the government can be alarming — and reporting it can sometimes be a disruptive (and even unnerving) process. It takes courage and determination to come forward with a whistleblower claim. And pursuing a successful whistleblower claim can take much more, such as knowledge and experience.
Whistleblowers need knowledge of specific whistleblower laws and programs which have detailed requirements, timelines, and procedures, and they want experience working alongside the government in a public-private partnership. We believe whistleblowers should always consult with a whistleblower attorney – they want attorneys with experience working alongside.
Whistleblower claims generally must be done according to strict government protocol, and there are many different programs and laws.
For example, if you believe an organization has violated the False Claims Act (FCA), the law requires that you have an attorney file the lawsuit. FCA claims are qui tam whistleblower cases, which means that you are filing a qui tam whistleblower lawsuit for the government who suffered from any violation. The government retains the right to file suit ultimately and has made it a matter of policy for individuals to be represented by an attorney when initiating a claim. Qui tam plaintiffs are often referred to as whistleblowers or relators.
You must hire an attorney to represent you and file an FCA claim, and you want to work with a qui tam whistleblower attorney.
While some other types of cases, such as IRS whistleblower cases and NHTSA whistleblower cases, can generally be pursued without a lawyer, you should have an attorney if you want to try to remain anonymous for as long as possible. In addition to helping you seek the security afforded by initial anonymity, a whistleblower attorney can help you navigate the intricacies of trying to prove complex financial fraud or safety violations while keeping an eye on the end goal of trying to get you a reward for your efforts.
In qui tam claims, the government has the right to intervene, which means that it will have primary control over the case while you and your attorney participate as needed if it chooses to do so. If the government decides not to intervene, you and your attorney may still proceed with the lawsuit – but the government retains the right to intervene at a later date. At Carolina Whistleblowers Attorneys, we have qui tam whistleblower lawyers who have worked as lead government attorneys on qui tam cases, and they understand the procedures that need to be followed, as well as the nuances of working with government attorneys.
Generally, the first person to file a complaint about fraud against the government is the one in the best position to receive a reward, if one is given. Most whistleblower programs are built around encouraging quick reporting of fraud, and they often have a limitation on rewards if you are not the first informant to file.
There are also statutes of limitations to contend with in each of the whistleblower programs. For example, FCA claims by whistleblowers generally must be filed within six to ten years after the violation, or no more than three years from when the government knew or should have known about the violation. Determining the starting date can be tricky, and statutes of limitation are subject to change, so don’t wait to act.
Contact the Carolina Whistleblower Attorneys as soon as you suspect fraud against the government. We can help you determine if you have a whistleblower claim and if any first-to-file conflicts exist.
Corruption against the government has serious consequences, but calling out this fraud can also have repercussions. We advise all potential whistleblowers to consider the following factors when deciding whether to go forth with a whistleblower claim:
Whistleblowers often fear being “found out.” Everything you say to our lawyers is confidential. We can file your FCA complaint “under seal” with the Department of Justice, which means your identity is privileged info and cannot be shared with anyone outside the case for at least 60 days. We respect our clients’ privacy and the information they share with us.
Some employees may have knowingly, or unknowingly, participated in the fraudulent activity before deciding to report it. An attorney can help you understand possible legal consequences for any role you may have played in the fraud. Check out our You-First Policy for more information about how we can help clients decide if the potential for receiving a reward outweighs any risk of moving forward with your claim. Our attorneys recognize that sometimes whistleblowers have been involved in the fraud they are reporting, and we try to get the government to focus on and acknowledge the value they bring to the claim.
Employees who report fraud are sometimes fired, mistreated, or demoted, and non-employee whistleblowers can be blacklisted by the industry or experience backlash in other ways. A whistleblower attorney can inform you of the anti-retaliation provisions within many specific federal and state whistleblower laws and help you understand what recourse may be available to you. Visit our Protections for Whistleblowers page for more information.
How strong is your case? Do you have solid evidence proving the fraud? Has someone else come forward with similar allegations first? A lawyer who has participated in successful recoveries for the government can analyze your case and help you determine if it’s strong enough to lead to a possible financial reward, and if so, what kind of reward. Our firm is led by former U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles, who brought the state of South Carolina to one of the top four in the country for whistleblower recoveries during his tenure.1 He and his team may be able to help build your case and try to maximize your whistleblower reward.
In addition to the fact that being the first person to file a claim puts you in the best position to potentially claim a reward, a whistleblower is generally required to provide new evidence and information about the fraud that the government does not already have, or have access to. While public information, such as that taken from the TV, internet, or government records, can be used within a case, the whistleblower must provide additional information, such as internal emails, test results, analyses, and billing records that supports the claim of fraud and is generally unavailable to the government.
Our whistleblower attorneys have helped many brave people successfully come forward with their claims, and they can provide you with guidance on the types of evidence that may make your case more compelling.1 They also have years of experience in helping clients understand how to gather this information while trying to protect their anonymity.
That’s right. If we decide to take your case after discussing your allegations and reviewing your evidence, you will owe us no fee if you don’t get a reward.2 We are here to help, and we are discreet and professional.
We have successfully helped whistleblower clients bring their whistleblower claims forth.1 In our You-First Policy, we outline how we will partner with you to fight for your rights, provide advice on your case, and pursue your possible reward. Over the years, we have developed a detailed process for working with whistleblower clients that takes into account the lessons we have learned and the results we have achieved.1
We firmly believe in our combination of experience, resources, and commitment to whistleblowers. Our firm is led by Bill Nettles, the former U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina. While serving as U.S. Attorney from 2010 to 2016, his office recovered almost $300,000,000 in total settlements in FCA cases.1,3 After two terms serving the public, Bill went into private practice in 2016 helping whistleblowers and has been involved in recovering approximately $27,000,000 in total whistleblower settlements.1,3
While anyone can report fraud against the government, you need a lawyer to file an FCA case. Carolina Whistleblower Attorneys will seek to protect you from retaliation, limit your legal liability, and claim a reward, if the case is successful.
Contact us today for a confidential and free case evaluation. We admire whistleblowers and will fight to help you try to hold others accountable for fraud against the government.
“Bill has the ability to ‘think outside the box’…which makes him extremely effective as an advocate for his clients.” 1 — Attorney who previously worked with Bill
If you’re wondering if it’s a good idea to speak with a whistleblower lawyer about what you know, let us set the record straight.