This issue will again contain a large number of whistleblower-related cases. Choosing to come forward with evidence that an employer or company has been committing fraud against the government is a brave and honorable act. Whistleblowers play a pivotal role in the detection, investigation and prosecution of fraud against the government. According to Taxpayers Against Fraud, more than 80 percent of cases pursued under the False Claims Act are initiated by whistleblowers. The False Claims Act also protects and reimburses whistleblowers for their courage and integrity in coming forward with evidence of corporate wrongdoing and/or fraudulent conduct and for participating in the process of pursuing a False Claims Act case in court.
Qui tam lawsuits can be brought against any organization, even government entities, that violate a law or regulation. Pharmaceutical fraud has become the most common type of fraud pursued under the False Claims Act. A recent Public Citizen study graphically illustrates how pharmaceutical industry fraud against the government has reached epidemic proportions, “endanger[ing] public safety and rob[bing] the government of increasingly scarce state and federal resources.” According to the new study, the worst offenders include some of the biggest companies — GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Eli Lilly, which have paid $14.8 billion in penalties stemming from 121 settlements between 2006 and 2010 alone. The study also found that former drug company employees-turned-whistleblowers who filed qui tam actions were an essential component in the largest number of federal settlements over the past ten years.
Other common types of fraud are government healthcare fraud, defense contractor fraud and real property fraud. If you are aware of any corporate wrongdoing, or any possible fraudulent activity, we encourage you to contact a lawyer immediately. If you have seen or are aware of any potentially fraudulent behavior that could be costing the government money, you have the right to expose it. No matter who you are, whether you are a high-ranking official within a company, an employee or even a bystander who becomes aware of corporate misconduct or potential fraud, it is extremely important that you seek knowledgeable representation should you decide to go through the process of a qui tam case. Filing a qui tam fraud lawsuit, such as against a pharmaceutical manufacturer, is complicated and requires legal professionals with experience in dealing with the companies that perpetrate the fraud.
We have written over the past several months about cases brought by whistleblowers and generally in each case a large corporation was guilty of fraudulent conduct. Oftentimes, the actual whistleblower is hardly mentioned other than to say he or she reported the bad conduct and filed suit under the False Claims Act. In those cases, Defense lawyers like to imply or actually say that the whistleblower is just in it for the money. What is virtually unknown by the public and even by jurors hearing a case is that the whistleblowers themselves often suffer because they reported corporate wrongdoing. That’s why each whistleblower must be protected from retaliation after they report wrongdoing by employers. Unfortunately, that hasn’t always been the case. The role of corporate whistleblowers is too important to allow them to be hurt because of their decision to report wrongdoing.
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