Filing a whistleblower case is courageous but risky. Even though there are various statutes that prohibit retaliation against whistleblowers, once a case is commenced a whistleblower may feel like everyone is out to get them or that people are following them or their phones are tapped, or a variety of other symptoms that although they are unfounded are common beliefs from people going through the process. Most of the concerns are unfounded since the initial qui tam lawsuit is filed under seal, which means the company committing the Medicare Fraud, Medicaid Fraud, or SEC violation is not even aware initially there is a charge against them. That coupled with the fact the whistleblower lawsuit may take years sometimes takes the wind out of the potential relator’s sails, but with the right whistleblower law firm to address your concerns the process becomes more palatable.
Although justice should be a prime motivating factor in commencing a qui tam lawsuit, there is also a possible economic reward for the right information. The whistleblower award is provided if the case turns out to be successful and the government is able to retrieve funds that were lost due to the fraudulent activity. This raises common questions whistleblowers ask:
How much can I win as a whistleblower?
What is the average whistleblower settlement?
Rewards for Whistleblower Cases
In recent years billions of dollars have been recaptured and sent back to the government for violations of the False Claims Act (FCA), the most commonly used whistleblower statute that fights fraud against the government.
The reward provided to a whistleblower varies from case to case and statute to statute. For cases that address Medicare Fraud and Medicaid Fraud, or Defense Contractor Fraud, if the case is successful a whistleblower can receive between 15% and 30% of the amount that is recovered during the case under the False Claims act and potentially more under different State False Claims Act statutes like the Illinois False Claims Act
If the government intervenes in a case under the FCA the relator (whistleblowers) percentage is generally 15-25%. If the government declines intervention then it go as high as 30%? So it’s better if the government doesn’t intervene in the case, right? Well, as a rule that is wrong, since the average whistleblower settlement for a case intervened by the government is roughly $12.5 million dollars, and without government intervention it’s a couple million. So although a whistleblower may stand to gain more percentagewise without the government’s intervention, it’s a smaller piece of the pie. The numbers may be a little deceptive because some of the bigger settlements can be in the hundreds of millions of dollars and those are generally with government intervention, so they can skew the bell curve for awards.
Under various statutes like the New York False Claims Act, Illinois False Claims Act, the California False Claims Act there are other mechanisms in which you can also recover for violations against the state or private insurance. Some actions may include tax fraud, which there is also an IRS Whistleblower provision, which in order to trigger Federally you would need a stellar case with crystal clear information spoon-fed to the government, but the New York Tax Fraud provisions can be advanced much easier with our without the government. The IRS requires the IRS. Also, popular in recent years are the use of the SEC whistleblower statutes and the CFTC whistleblower statutes where whistleblower awards can go up to 30%.
Whistleblower cases are challenging, but there is a certain satisfaction that can come from doing what’s right and if successful the whistleblower award can be as high as in the tens of millions of dollars if not more. Many factors go into whether the whistleblower case is worth bringing, and what percentage of the award is given so it’s important to speak with an experience whistleblower lawyer who fights for and protects whistleblowers like Jason T. Brown (Former FBI Special Agent), of Brown, LLC who can educate you about your rights and the pros and cons of commencing a whistleblower lawsuit.