Speaking truth to power and blowing the whistle on fraud and corruption requires a lot of courage. But doing so leads not only to justice for those being de-frauded, but also, in many cases, to monetary rewards. Obtaining experienced and trustworthy legal assistance to guide you through the process is critical, both to protect your privacy and to ensure that you receive the maximum benefits for placing yourself in a difficult position.
Both the state of New York and the federal government have laws providing various forms of protection for public and private citizens who help uncover fraud. In the federal government, such claims are brought under a statute known as the “False Claims Act,” which is commonly referred to as a “qui tam” action. The colloquial term is an abbreviation of a Latin phrase which translates as “he who sues for the king as well as himself.” The False Claims Act allows an individual known as the “relator” to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the United States, and is contingent upon the relator having information that proves that the named individual has caused the submission of false or fraudulent claims to the United States.
Federal law provides for a reward of 15-25% of the money recovered when the claim is filed by the government, and 30% if the individual does it alone. The reward is based on the amount of useful information that is provided. Hiring a lawyer to negotiate the terms of the reward can greatly increase the percentage that the whistleblower receives.
Whistleblowing is a time sensitive matter because the federal government applies a “first to file” rule, meaning that the first person to file a claim against an entity de-frauding the government is entitled to a reward paid by the government. Therefore, whistleblowing cases must be filed as soon as possible.
Colleen Meenan is highly experienced in helping clients navigate complex whistleblowing claims. She is a tenacious advocate for clients who seek to expose the truth, and she is a trustworthy advisor and confidant for those seeking to expose sensitive information. She and her staff do consider providing legal services, in meritorious whistleblowing cases, on a contingency fee basis. The firm does not get paid for the work unless the suit is successful. If you know the government is being de-frauded and what to do something about it, contact Meenan & Associates.