This is commonly seen in the healthcare sector when clinics, doctors and hospitals submit bills to Medicare or Medicaid. For example, a medical office might double bill for the same service or charge for a more expensive procedure than the one that was actually formed.
If you suspect your employer is engaged in fraud, the best thing you can do is to report it to the government.
Pursuant to the Civil False Claims Act, as governed by the Qui Tam Statute, a private person is permitted to sue a person or company who is knowingly submitting false bills to the federal government. Such a person is known as a “Whistleblower.”
How Whistleblower Cases Are Compensated
Pursuant to the Whistleblower Act, the first person to bring the fraud to light is known as the “original source.” Only the original source can be compensated under this statute.
However, only the original source can recover. Further, even if you are the original source, there is a very specific manner in which the claim must be brought. Failure to follow the very unique statutory requirements set up within the Whistleblower Act can result in dismissal of the action.
Because government cannot be aware of all things that occur, they rely on public citizens to help them prevent fraud. For this reason, the Whistleblower statute provides for whistleblowers to recover as much as 30% of the government’s ultimate recovery.
For instance, if you alert the government to a situation where a company has defrauded them substantially, they may seek to recover. Hypothetically, if they are successful, and recoup three million dollars, a whistleblower, also known as a “relator,” can receive as much as one million dollars in compensation.
However, to be compensated for such an action, there is a precise process the whistleblower must follow. For that reason, if you are interested in being compensated, it is essential to retain an attorney to assist you.
How Attorneys Are Paid for Whistleblower Cases
If you hire an attorney to help you file a whistleblower claim, you do not pay anything up front. Attorneys are paid on a contingency. In other words, the attorney only gets paid if you receive compensation as a result of your claim.
Typically, attorneys are paid forty percent of the amount you are awarded. This percentage is very common for most cases billed on a contingency.
Clearly that is not an insignificant amount. However, the attorney will invest significant time, perhaps hundreds of hours on the case. Additionally, he or she will advance potentially large sums of money out of pocket with no guarantee of recovery. As such, given the great financial risk the attorney is exposed to, it is the only manner that would justify undertaking such a case.
That notwithstanding, the potential financial recovery for a whistleblower is great. As the system does not lend itself to unrepresented individuals, it is clear the best course of action is to proceed with the help of an experienced attorney.