We know that the decision to become a whistleblower is very difficult for those who are considering filing a “qui tam” whistleblower case or a whistleblower claim with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission or the IRS.
The best advice for determining whether you have a whistleblower case: Talk to a whistleblower lawyer.
An experienced whistleblower lawyer with an established record of success is in the best position to help you evaluate the strengths and risks of your potential whistleblower case and provide advice on how to protect your job and anonymity. The whistleblower lawyer should offer an initial consultation at no charge. Phillips & Cohen works on a contingency basis, meaning whistleblower clients don’t pay anything unless their matter is successful.
Here are some basic questions to consider that can help determine whether you have a strong whistleblower case:
- Are you aware of specific instances or practices that involve fraud or other wrongdoing? Is this more than a hunch?
A whistleblower needs specific knowledge and a strong understanding of the violations to file a whistleblower case.
- How do you know about the wrongdoing?
Many whistleblowers are employees or former employees, but that’s not a requirement. Anyone who has specific knowledge of wrongdoing, including non-employee industry insiders and experts, can be a whistleblower in government reward programs.
- Do you have evidence that supports your allegations?
Tangible evidence is helpful to launch a whistleblower case, but it isn’t a requirement. A case can be built in certain instances if the whistleblower has detailed knowledge of the violations.
- How old is the information about the wrongdoing? Have the practices stopped or are they ongoing?
If the illegal or harmful practices occurred years ago and are no longer occurring, then there may be problems with a statute of limitations.
- Does your matter meet the specific requirements for a whistleblower case or claim?
Each government whistleblower program has specific requirements. For instance, a SEC whistleblower claim must help the SEC recover more than $1 million in order for the whistleblower to qualify for a reward. For more on this, see False Claims Act, SEC Whistleblower Program, CFTC Whistleblower Program and IRS Whistleblower Program.