Fraud, Waste & Abuse
According to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, whistelblowers are the single most effective way of rooting-out criminal activity and fraud in corporations and government agencies.
No one applies for a job with the intent of becoming a whistleblower.
No one seeks the scrutiny that comes from being labeled a whistleblower.
In almost every case, whistleblowing employees started out doing what they thought was their job, often to find that they were doing it too well.
UBS AG Bank: A Massive Secret Fraud Uncovered
A few years ago it was a whistleblower who exposed unlawful worldwide banking practices at UBS AG Bank.
Bradley Birkenfield revealed detailed information on a secret twenty-billion-dollar program which managed off-shore bank accounts on behalf of known tax evaders.
Bradley was fired, prosecuted for tax violations, and spent almost three years in prison.
In August of 2012, the IRS issued a ruling on his reward claim, enforced the federal whistleblower law and awarded him $104 million under the IRS whistleblower program.
Sherron Watkins of Enron
Sherron Watkins, the Vice President of Corporate Development at Enron Corporation, reported accounting irregularities in financial reports to then-Enron CEO Kenneth Lay.
The story became public and Enron was exposed. In 2002, Time Magazine selected her, along with whistleblowers Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom and Coleen Rowley of the FBI, and as one of three “Persons of the Year’.
In 2004, Watkins released a book about her ordeal which detailed the problems of the U.S. corporate culture called ‘Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron.’
There are over fifty-five federal laws that protect whistleblowers from retaliation.
Not all of them are strong deterrents for the employer. But some of them contain strong protections for whistleblowers and allow for successful plaintiffs to obtain a percentage-recovery of the fraud they discover.
Laws like the whistelblower protection provision added to the 2008 Consumer product Safety Reform Act, and the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, contain strong protections for whistleblowers.
For example: The False Claims Act, 125 years in the making, covers federal procurement and protects persons who blow the whistle on fraud in government contracting.
The Act was strengthened in 2009 and 2010. Many states have followed suit and enacted local versions of the same law.
We will ask you: Are government funds involved? Is the U.S. taxpayer liable for any of the costs incurred for the employer misconduct?
The FCA provides that for every dollar the government collects from corrupt contractors, the whistleblower may obtain a reward for between 15 and 30 percent of the moneys collected.
Could You Be a Whistleblower?
Does your workplace miss-classify employees as exempt from overtime, for example classifying as ‘assistant managers’ employees who have no managerial functions?
Do you have knowledge of systematic fraud, for example by up-coding in health care billing?