What You Need to Know About Whistleblower Rights

Is a qui tam relator protected against retaliation?

June 30th, 2015

A qui tam relator, more commonly called a whistleblower, is someone who provides information on a company that commits fraud against the federal government of the United States. You may have knowledge that you believe would implicate your employer, but you’re naturally afraid of retaliation. Are you protected? If you suspect your employer of wrongdoing, please contact our New York qui tam attorney today at (845) 383-1728 to schedule your free case evaluation.

In a qui tam case, individuals who provide information that leads to the successful prosecution of a fraudulent company stand to receive a portion of the damages recovered, up to 30 percent in some cases. And while monetary incentive and simply doing the right thing are compelling reasons to act, many would-be whistleblowers fear retaliation by their employer.

The federal False Claims Act offers specific protections to qui tam relators and penalizes employers who seek retaliation. If you file a qui tam claim against your employer and your employer takes revenge on you, then you may be entitled to up to twice your back pay, interest on that back pay, and other compensatory damages. The qui tam provisions also provide legal immunity for the whistleblower in most cases.

If you believe that your employer is engaged in fraudulent actions, it is your right as an American to help the federal government hold them accountable. Please contact the Law Office of James T. Ratner today at (845) 383-1728 to arrange a free consultation with our New York qui tam lawyer.

Who can be a whistleblower?

June 25th, 2015

A whistleblower is someone who reports evidence indicative of fraud, misconduct, or deceit. Whistleblowers enjoy certain protections under the law, which are in place to encourage individuals to step forward and hold companies accountable. If you suspect wrongdoing, please contact our New York whistleblower attorney today at (845) 383-1728 to schedule your free case evaluation.

The criteria for being a whistleblower are simple.
  • You need to have specific evidence of fraud or misconduct.
  • You need not be a current or former employee of the company in question.
  • You need not necessarily have directly witnessed the fraud or misconduct.
  • You need to bring forward original evidence, which is to say evidence that is unavailable through publicly available sources.

The False Claims Act, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, and other federal and state laws protect whistleblowers from retaliation by the party or industry suspected of misconduct. Specific industries that are addressed by various whistleblower laws include

Whistleblower laws offer financial rewards to those who bring forth evidence leading to a successful claim. Whistleblowers who provide such evidence may be eligible to receive up to 30 percent of any damages the government recovers.

If you suspect that a business is acting unlawfully, you have the right to step forward and voice your concerns. To discover how an experienced New York whistleblower attorney can help, please contact the Law Office of James T. Ratner today at (845) 383-1728 to arrange a free consultation.

What to do if you are thinking about becoming a whistleblower

May 19th, 2015

If you find yourself in the position of a qui tam whistleblower, it can be hard to know what to do. You may feel that you are on shaky ground after finding out that a company or institution you trusted is involved in a scheme to commit fraud against the government. You probably have never been involved in the legal system, and you may feel overwhelmed at your situation. However, to find out if you have a whistleblower case, there are definite steps you can take to make sure you are protected and justice is served.

Preserve Evidence

Like any good legal case, qui tam whistleblower litigation is built on good evidence. If you have discovered documents or other kinds of evidence of fraud, they may become the foundation of a lawsuit. If you are not sure how to treat sensitive documents, contact an attorney right away.

Don’t Hesitate

With a few exceptions, a qui tam case filed under the False Claims Act must be brought within six years of when the fraud was committed. Additionally, there is a stipulation in the False Claims Act known as the “first to file” rule. Only the first qui tam whistleblower is entitled to a share of a monetary reward. Even so, it is possible for a group of claimants to bring a case if more than one person was involved with the discovery of the fraud.

Meet With an Experienced Qui Tam Attorney

Cases that fall under the False Claims Act can be challenging to pursue. Many personal injury lawyers will attempt to take whistleblower cases, but if you are dealing with this situation, you need an attorney with the experience to be successful in a qui tam fraud case.

If you are ready to blow the whistle on false claims or securities fraud, please contact The Law Office of James T. Ratner using the form at the left of the page or call (845) 383-1728 today. We have more than 15 years experience representing whistleblowers in New York and nationwide.

What kind of evidence should a qui tam relator have for a whistleblower case?

April 23rd, 2015

For a whistleblower case, the qui tam relator must have concrete evidence of fraud against the government. It is not necessary that you witnessed the fraud happening, but you must be able to establish the fraud with evidence. A mere suspicion or belief that a fraud is occurring is not enough.

If you can document who perpetrated the fraud, when it happened, where it happened, and why and how it happened then you likely have enough evidence for a good whistleblower case.

Your evidence needs to be original and not publicly available. Information that can be found in public records, such as newspapers, Congressional records, government reports or on the internet is not information that you can rely on for your whistleblower claim.

Do you have in-depth knowledge and documented evidence showing fraud or misconduct that cost the government and taxpayers money? Are you ready to become a whistleblower and be rewarded for your efforts?

Call the Law Office of James T. Ratner today at (845) 383-1728 for your confidential consultation with an experienced whistleblower attorney in New York. James Ratner represents whistleblower clients nationwide.

As a Whistleblower Should I Report to the Government?

March 25th, 2015

As a whistleblower, you have a few options open to you, depending on your circumstances, on who to report fraud or misconduct to.

  • As an employee of the company you are blowing the whistle on, you can report the misconduct internally within the company.
  • You can also report the wrongful conduct to the appropriate government agency. Usually this is the U.S. Attorney's Office.
  • Many whistleblowers report both internally to the company and to the government.

You must report to the government in order to be eligible for any whistleblower award. However, you may still be eligible for whistleblower retaliation protections under the applicable whistleblower statute even if you report only internally.

The decision about where to report should be made in consultation with an experienced whistleblower attorney who can guide you through the entire legal process. Depending on your relationship with the company, the risk of retaliation you are taking, your wish to remain anonymous, and other factors specific to your case, it may be advisable to report to one entity and not the other.

Are you ready to blow the whistle on fraud against the government? Do you have in-depth knowledge that you can document about fraud or misconduct that cost the government and taxpayers money? You may be rewarded up to 30% of the government's recovery for your efforts in stopping this corruption.

Call the Law Office of James T. Ratner today at (845) 383-1728 for your confidential consultation with an experienced whistleblower attorney in New York. James Ratner represents whistleblower clients nationwide.

How long do whistleblower/qui tam cases take?

December 15th, 2014

One of the questions often asked by potential whistleblowers is "how long is my case going to take?" The short answer is that whistleblower cases commonly take two to three years. However, each case is different, and the length of your case will vary with the facts of your case.

In consultation with an experienced whistleblower attorney like James Ratner, you can discuss your case confidentially and explore the possibility of pursuing a qui tam action. Although these proceedings can last a few years, in the end, you can be greatly rewarded for your perseverance in pursuing justice against those who profit from defrauding the government. Many whistleblower programs compensate whistleblowers up to 30% of the recovery in the case.

If you suspect that a company is defrauding the government and you have significant and detailed knowledge of the situation that you can document, then it's time to call a whistleblower attorney. Please contact the Law Office of James T. Ratner today at (845) 383-1728 to arrange a free consultation. James T. Ratner represents clients nationwide.

Is a Qui Tam Relator Liable for Using Confidential Documents in Whistleblower Cases?

July 9th, 2014

Courts have differed over whether enforcing a confidentiality agreement between an employee and company interferes with the purpose of the False Claims Act. In June, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied a qui tam relator’s motion to dismiss a counterclaim against the relator for breaching a confidentiality agreement.

The court found that the information the relator took fell under the definition of confidential information set out in the employee signed confidentiality agreement. The court rejected the qui tam relator’s public policy argument that enforcing confidentiality agreements runs contrary to the purpose of the False Claims Act.

Qui tam defendants are increasingly litigating against relators, which makes these type of counterclaims all the more prevalent and allows the defendant to stand in the way of seeing justice done.

To protect yourself as a whistleblower, you will need the help of an experienced qui tam attorney.

If you have information and the ability to document how your employer has defrauded the government of taxpayers dollars, please call (845) 383-1728 or contact James T. Ratner for your confidential consultation. We represent clients throughout New York and nationwide.

Employee Protections for Whistleblowing

May 23rd, 2014

There are more than two dozen state and federal statutes that protect employees from retaliation if they blow the whistle on their employer’s wrongdoing. If you have been afraid to come forward, know that your consultations with a whistleblower attorney are confidential and these statutes are in place for your protection. Recent legal developments have even expanded the scope of these protections.

In April 2014, in order to better facilitate the administration of whistleblower claims under the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA) the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued an interim rule to establish protocols for Dodd-Frank whistleblowers.

In March 2014, the United States Supreme Court expanded the class of employers subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). In Lawson v. FMR LLC, the Court held that the retaliation prohibitions of the Act applied to not only public companies, but also employees of private contractors or subcontractors that work for a public company.

In February 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced in its strategic objectives that it intends to encourage more whistleblower complaints and be more proactive in policing securities violations that are subject to Dodd-Frank.

If you believe you have witnessed fraud against the government, please contact whistleblower attorney James T. Ratner or call toll-free (845) 383-1728 for your free consultation. All consultations are strictly confidential.

Whistleblower Protections Extended

March 21st, 2014

In a U.S. Supreme Court case decided on March 4, 2014, the Court held that the protections afforded to whistleblowers against employer retaliation for whistle blowing under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, were meant to cover employees of a non-publicly traded subcontractor which provided services to publicly traded entities.

The Court held, “based on the text of 1514A, the mischief to which Congress was responding, and earlier legislation Congress drew upon, . . . the provision shelters employees of private contractors and subcontractors, just as it shelters employees of the public company served by the contractors and subcontractors.”

FMR had argued that the whistleblowing protections of Sarbanes-Oxley should be limited to employees of public companies. The Supreme Court ruled that those protections are extended to employees of a public company's private contractors and subcontractors. The case is remanded for trial.

If you can document fraud against the government by the company you are working for, please contact James T. Ratner by calling (845) 383-1728 today to speak with an experienced whistleblower lawyer. All consultations are strictly confidential.

New Incentives for Whistleblowers in New York?

March 14th, 2014

Some New York lawmakers have sought to fill a gap in the New York State False Claims Act by providing an incentive reward to whistleblowers who blow the whistle on financial fraud under New York State law. NYS Bill No. 4362, would if passed, provide new incentives to those who report violations of New York State’s banking, insurance, and financial services laws to the NYS Department of Financial Services (“DFS”).

If enacted, S4362 would allow whistleblower awards from 10 to 30 percent of the money recovered by DFS in an enforcement action.

Given the fact that in 2012 the NY DFS collected a $340 million penalty against the British bank Standard Chartered for money laundering, if the proposed amendment passes, a whistleblower reward in a similar action could be substantial. Let’s hope this bill becomes law in New York.

To speak with an experienced False Claims Act lawyer about your potential case, please contact James T. Ratner by calling (845) 383-1728 today. All consultations are strictly confidential.

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