Whistleblower and False Claims

Atlanta, Georgia whistleblower & government fraud attorneys & lawsuits

Numerous federal and state whistleblower laws protect employees, officials and other persons who suspect or discover fraud, waste or abuse within government or that a company doing business with government has violated the law or defrauded the government. The employee or person having knowledge of the violation or fraud, known as the whistleblower or “relator,” typically fears losing his or her job or suffering other retaliation by reporting it. While the right course may be to speak out, an employee, agent or contractor who does so risks losing his or her job as well as other possible legal consequences. The whistleblower faces an untenable situation, torn between loyalty to his employer, legal or ethical duties, and self-preservation.

Whistleblower issues and claims arise in numerous circumstances, such as government contractors who overbill or submit fraudulent bills to the government, Medicare or Medicaid fraud and overbilling by healthcare providers and facilities, public or private employers cutting corners on safety issues, companies or high-wealth individuals engaging in tax fraud or unlawful employment practices (such as discriminatory practices or violations of overtime and wage laws), and public companies defrauding investors by failing to disclose adverse business or financial information or presenting false information. In such situations, if an employee exposes an unsafe, illegal or unethical practice and suffers retaliation such as harassment, dismissal, job transfer or demotion, he or she may have legal recourse against the employer.

Federal and state whistleblower statutes such as those listed below are designed to encourage employees and other persons with knowledge of fraud, waste or illegal activity to report it and to protect them from dismissal or other retaliatory actions by employers. Some laws allow whistleblowers to recover actual damages, including back pay, lost benefits and other job-termination damages, cause by retaliatory firings or other adverse employment actions. In addition, whistleblowers can receive substantial monetary awards from government recoveries based on the illegal, unethical or fraudulent activities exposed.

Examples of whistleblower laws and what they cover include:

  • False Claims (Qui Tam) Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h) – overbilling or fraud by contractors or companies doing business with the federal government, including healthcare providers (hospitals, nursing homes, and physician practices), drug and medical manufacturers and suppliers, construction companies, etc.
  • Sarbanes Oxley Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1514A – shareholder fraud and financial or other misrepresentations and fraud by public companies
  • Internal Revenue Service Whistleblower Program, IRC Section 7623(b) – tax fraud by individuals with gross income over $200,000 or corporate fraud exceeding $2 million (whistleblower awards are sometimes awarded even in smaller cases)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), 29 U.S.C. § 660(c) – serious workplace safety violations
  • Toxic Substances Control Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2622 – violations of toxic substance storage and disposal rules
  • Georgia Whistleblowers Act, O.C.G.A. § 45-1-4 et seq. – violations of law and/or waste, fraud or abuse by state and local government entities
  • Georgia False Medicaid Claims Act, O.C.G.A. § 49-6-168 et seq. – false Medicaid claims submitted to State Medicaid Program
  • Georgia Non-Medicaid False Claims Act, O.C.G.A. § 230-3-120 et seq. – false claims submitted to non-Medicaid payors

Many whistleblower laws, including those listed above, have strict time limits for employees or relators to report illegal activity or fraud, some as short as 30 to 180 days. If you suspect or have knowledge that your employer or a government contractor, vendor or payor is violating the law or is committing fraud, you should promptly call or contact one of our Georgia whistleblower attorneys by telephone or email today for a free consultation. We will confidentially review your circumstances to determine whether any whistleblower laws apply and advise you of your legal rights and appropriate courses of action to consider.

Our attorneys have a proven track record, both in and out of the courtroom, of achieving the best possible results for business clients, including in business tort cases. Click here to view examples of cases we have handled and notable results, and click here to see what our clients say about our experience and dedication in handling their claims.