Despite the draw of large whistleblower rewards distributed by the government recently, like the $104 million awarded to Brad Birkenfeld for exposing secrets about Swiss banking to the IRS, a recent New York Times article warns potential whistleblowers to seriously consider the burdens that accompany blowing the whistle before they proceed.
“It’s a life-changing experience,” said John R. Phillips, founder of the law firm Phillips & Cohen and the man credited with devising the amendments that strengthened the government antifraud law, the False Claims Act, in 1986. “If you look at the field of whistle-blowers, you see a high degree of bankruptcies. You may find yourself unemployable. Home foreclosures, divorce, suicide and depression all go with this territory.”