When you do work with a public agency or a private company, the last thing you expect is to encounter a situation in which you learn they are engaging in illegal activity or acting in a way that breaches the public’s trust. Unfortunately, sometimes employers engage in behavior that needs to be brought to light.
Sometimes, the only way this behavior is discovered is by brave employees who come forward with the information. They do so, even knowing that they may end up unemployed, or worse, in legal trouble if they are also suspected of the company’s illegal behavior. Thankfully, California has some of the strongest whistleblower protection laws in the country, helping to supplement federal whistleblower laws. If you need to report wrongdoing on the part of your employer, you may need a whistleblower protection attorney in Woodland Hills. At JML Law, we will work to ensure that you are protected from retaliation.
What is a Whistleblower?
A whistleblower is someone who ultimately has the courage to disclose information to others about the illegal or inappropriate activity or behavior with the goal to end the bad practice. There are certain categories of whistleblowers who may qualify for significant financial awards for reporting the misconduct. JML attorneys represent whistleblowers who may be faced with a similar dilemma and need guidance.
Now there may be some individuals out there who aren’t sure if they qualify as whistleblowers. The best course of action to take is to contact the law offices of JML and explain your current predicament. Lawyers are familiar with the four distinct whistleblower laws which cover tax fraud, fraud committed against any government programs, violations of securities laws, and the Commodities Exchange Act.
Whistleblowers are protected by laws that prohibit retaliation. There are even some laws that allow whistleblowers to file anonymously with an attorney’s assistance too. Under specific provisions, whistleblowers may be able to sue for lost wages and other damages due to retaliation.
Acting as a Whistleblower
The discussion surrounding whistleblowers does raise the question of why should anyone become one? Well, JML attorneys explain that whistleblowers have the chance to perform a great act of civic responsibility by helping correct a wrongful situation. Those whistleblowers who act in the public’s interest are also granted anywhere between 10 and 30 percent of the money recovered by the government. This includes fines, which are a part of an enforcement action.
Furthermore, under the False Claims Act, the whistleblower may be entitled to a larger portion of the overall recovery if the government declines the case and the whistleblower litigates independently.
The types of fraud that are covered under whistleblower laws are:
- Payments to physicians or hospitals from pharmaceutical companies in return for drug promotion or purchasing
- Off label promotion of drugs and/or medical devices
- In defense contracting, intentional inflation of prices on government contracts
- Supplying the government with defective parts
- Failure to comply with a government contract
- Lack of quality control or failure to properly test for defects in security
- Improper inflation of prices
- Tax fraud, evasion, or misrepresentation of income
- Trading fraud, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
- Front running
- Accounting fraud
- Theft from investors
- Pump and dump schemes and stock manipulation
- Insider trading
Continue reading below for a more in-depth description of some of the most common types of fraud JML attorneys handle.
It does not matter what industry you work in – wrongdoing exists everywhere, and it does not have to be tolerated. Here are some common types of whistleblower cases:
- Tax Fraud – This can apply to both companies and individuals (think political campaigns). Many people think that they can evade paying taxes to the government. High-income businesses and individuals often attempt to get around their tax burdens by hiding income overseas or manipulating their accounting numbers. Whistleblowers often come forward to bring these actions to light. The IRS sometimes even offers money to whistleblowers who report wrongdoing.
- Poor Working Conditions – This is especially prevalent when it comes to entry-level farm and manufacturing jobs, but also occurs with larger, more well-known companies. Often, working conditions for low-level workers are absolutely horrible. Whistleblowers can report health and safety violations as well as instances of wage fraud.
- Healthcare Fraud – Hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, and other medical-related companies often engage in healthcare fraud. This is not only illegal but causes the cost of health care to rise for everyone. Companies often commit fraud by billing insurance companies for services they did not provide. Other times, they charge for brand-name items when they only dispense generics. Whistleblowers provide a valuable service by reporting this fraud.
- US Securities and Stocks – Whistleblowers often report when major corporations commit fraud that deceives their investors. Maybe they aren’t truthful when reporting earnings or are engaged in other manipulative behaviors to alter stock prices. Reporting this to the SEC can lead to a reward for the whistleblower.
- Illegal Dumping – California has strict environmental laws, but sometimes companies ignore them and dump toxic materials into the environment. It is vital that this is reported.
These are just a few examples but are by no means the only types.
What To Do
With the nature of whistleblower litigation and incentives that reward quick, it is important to report fraud as soon as possible. In case you aren’t sure if your information is legitimate contact JML Law today. Woodland Hills whistleblower attorneys can answer any question or inquiries. When you report fraud sooner rather than later ensure your information reaches the government in a timely fashion.
Whistleblower laws are time-sensitive so any delay will increase the risk of being invalidated. Additionally, the time you are aware of the fraud taking place to the time of reporting can impact the award amount you may receive. Also, when you report the fraud quickly, this helps to make sure you are the first one to report it which also affects whether or not you are rewarded.
If you believe your employer is engaged in illegal activities, you may need a whistleblower protection attorney in Woodland Hills before proceeding. Contact us at JML Law by clicking here or calling us at 818-610-8800. We will help you through the process step by step so you and your family are protected.
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