Risks and Rewards of Reporting Illegal Acts
Qui Tam Lawyers Assisting Individuals Nationwide
If you have information about unlawful business practices, you may have questions about the risks and rewards you face if you decide to come forward with it. The Whistleblower Law Firm can assist you if you want to disclose illegal conduct to the authorities. Our qui tam attorneys have more than 200 years of combined experience pursuing claims against businesses nationwide that have committed corporate fraud or wrongdoing. If you have evidence of misconduct, we can help you present your claim.
Risks and Rewards of Reporting Illegal Acts
Disclosing illegal business activity involves both incentives and reasons for concern. Many employees, contractors, and other individuals with information about corporate wrongdoing are anxious about the possible risks attached to reporting information to the authorities. While there are certainly risks involved with blowing the whistle on illegal practices, the rewards are substantial. Federal and state laws give individuals monetary incentives to come forward with their information, and they also provide ways to protect a person’s right to report unlawful corporate practices.
Concerns When Disclosing Information
Many potential whistleblowers are concerned about the consequences of revealing their information to the government. If you are in this situation, you may be an employee of the company that is engaged in business misconduct. The possible risks associated with your disclosure include:
- Harassment by your employer or co-workers;
- Termination, demotion, threats to your employment, or other forms of employer retaliation for reporting corporate wrongdoing; and
- A denial or unsuccessful resolution to your qui tam or whistleblower claim.
While these concerns are valid, there are a number of state and federal laws that provide varying amounts of financial rewards if you do report illegal activity. There are also anti-retaliatory laws that prevent an employer from taking adverse action against you for disclosing alleged corporate wrongdoing, even if your claim is unsuccessful.
Rewards for Reporting Fraud or Other Illegal Business Practices
The law provides various types of incentives for whistleblowers, generally involving financial awards and job protection. Depending on which federal or state law applies in your case, you can receive a certain percentage of the money the government recovers in the action. For instance, if a federal qui tam claim is successful, you can possibly get anywhere between 15 and 25 percent of the amount the U.S. recovers from the defendant. If you successfully proceed with a qui tam claim when the government decides not to intervene, you can receive between 25 and 30 percent of the recovered financial amount. How much you will receive depends on a number of factors, such as:
- The gravity of the fraud or misconduct;
- Your assistance in helping the government prove the case;
- Whether your information was publicly available; and
- Your participation (if any) in the misconduct.
The law also protects you from employer retaliation. Many of the laws that encourage disclosure of corporate fraud or misconduct also forbid companies from retaliating against employees who disclose actions that they believe violate a particular law. For instance, the Dodd-Frank Act, which encourages disclosure of securities law violations, forbids employers from terminating or otherwise retaliating against people working for them who reveal this information. In other words, you cannot lawfully be fired for coming forward with information about possible illegal business practices.
If your employer does retaliate, you may be entitled to damages. You could receive back wages plus interest, job reinstatement, attorney fees, and other special damages. You would have to file your claim before the statute of limitations on your action expires. This time limit differs amongst the various states. It is usually shorter than the statute of limitations for filing a qui tam or whistleblower claim.
Seasoned Whistleblower Attorneys Advising Workers Throughout the U.S.
At our firm, we have the resources and legal experience to help you report corporate fraud and other illegal activity. Our whistleblower attorneys have helped employees across the U.S. report unlawful business practices to federal and state governments. We offer diligent representation to individuals in Illinois, New York, and Florida, among other regions. Call us today at (800) 982-1904 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. You can also reach us by using our online form.