Whistleblower/Qui Tam/False Claims
Berman DeValerio is committed to fighting for the rights of whistleblowers to expose government fraud and to receive the compensation and protection they deserve in exchange for speaking out courageously and performing a vital public service - combating fraud against our citizenry.
The firm's securities practice has provided Berman DeValerio attorneys with regular experience communicating confidentially with corporate insiders with information regarding corporate fraud. As an outgrowth of that experience, the firm has established a practice group to assist individuals wishing to expose fraud perpetrated against the federal government and obtain the compensation and protections afforded by the False Claims Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission whistleblower program, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission whistleblower program and the Internal Revenue Service whistleblower program.
If you believe you have such a claim, you may contact Berman DeValerio at 800-516-9926 for a confidential discussion about your case. We are here to answer your questions and help you explore your legal rights as a government whistleblower.
False Claims Act
Lawsuits under the False Claims Act, also known as Qui Tam actions, allow people who are aware of a fraud perpetrated against the government to seek redress on behalf of the government to protect the general public from abuse by private entities. As a financial incentive to encourage individuals to expose conduct that defrauds U.S. taxpayers, the False Claims Act provides that whistleblowers can recover a significant portion of any recovery on behalf of the government as a "whistleblower award." Although corporate "insiders" can bring whistleblower claims, it is not necessary for the person exposing the fraud to be a corporate officer, member of management - or even an employee - to be eligible to collect an award. If your information leads to a successful FCA action, you can recover up to 30% of the financial recovery, provided certain conditions are met.
SEC and CFTC Whistleblower Programs
Pursuant to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, whistleblowers who provide information to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about violations of federal securities laws or to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission about violations of federal commodities laws can receive an incentive award.
If the whistleblower's information results in a sanction of more than $1 million by the SEC or another government agency, the whistleblower may receive 10%-30% of that recovery, provided that certain conditions are met. In addition, whistleblowers who suffer from employment retaliation may sue for reinstatement, back pay and any other damages that occurred. Importantly, the fraud can be reported anonymously, so long as the whistleblower has retained legal representation.
The CFTC's whistleblower reward program is similar.
IRS Whistleblower Program
The federal IRS Whistleblower Office has discretion to compensate individuals who expose the failure of an individual or entity to pay taxes owed to the federal government. If the IRS uses information provided by the whistleblower, it can award the whistleblower up to 30% of the additional tax, penalty and other amounts it collects. The information must be specific and credible and result in the collection of taxes, penalties, interest or other amounts from the noncompliant taxpayer. The law provides for two types of awards. If the taxes, penalties, interest and other amounts in dispute exceed $2 million, and a few other qualifications are met, the IRS may pay 15%-30% of the amount collected. If the amount in dispute is less than $2 million, or if certain other conditions are not met, whistleblowers are eligible for a maximum potential award of up to 15% or up to $10 million.