Types of Whistleblower Cases
Witness to Fraud Against the Federal Government?
For every federal government program, there is a criminal who has figured out how to exploit the program’s money for his or her own financial gain. Unfortunately, fraud against the federal government directly results in an increased tax burden for everyone else.
Though fraud against the government can occur whenever the federal money is being used to finance a project, there are some areas where abuse of government money is rampant. If you have been a witness to fraud in these or other areas, you may be able to file a whistleblower action against the person or entity committing the fraud.
Health Care and Pharmaceutical Fraud
Fraud against the Medicare/Medicaid systems is widespread and costs taxpayers hundreds of million dollars every year. In the medical area, whistleblower claims are usually filed when an entity engages in any of the following practices:
- Billing for patients that don’t exist;
- Billing for services which were not rendered;
- Inflating the cost of services or drugs prescribed to the patient;
- Billing for unnecessary medical services;
- Improper self-referrals from doctors or clinics;
- Taking kickbacks for recommending certain services or medications; and
- Falsely certifying the quality of goods or services rendered.
- Promoting off-label use of medications
These offenses, in addition to many other types of medical fraud, falsely inflate the amount the government owes to a provider and does nothing but line the pockets of the provider with taxpayer money.
Government Contractor Fraud
The federal government frequently awards contracts to private corporations in order to complete its various construction projects or defense contracts. When the country needs to build a bridge, a road, or an aircraft carrier, the government is notorious for spending more money than it needs to accomplish its goals.
One main reason for the inflated federal project budgets and the nation’s ever-increasing defense budget is the sheer amount of fraud committed by many government contractors. Some of the most common types of contractor fraud include:
- Substituting cheaper parts or products to save money
- Shifting the costs of one project onto another project to maximize profits;
- Improperly allocating costs to the government over private companies;
- Overcharging the government for specialized products or goods
- GSA contractor fraud
- Competitive bidding violations and illegal kickbacks
All of these practices violate the Fair Claims Act, and can be the cause of a lawsuit against the wrongdoer.
Financial/Banking Industry Fraud
Whistleblower lawsuits have played a key role in exposing financial wrongdoing throughout the mortgage and banking industries over the past ten years. Huge corporations like Goldman Sachs were brought down after insiders stepped forward to expose the company’s greed and massive fraud.
Fraud against the government in the financial sector tends to be concentrated into several areas, including:
- Mortgage Fraud
- Misuse of government bailout funds
- Government Pension Fraud
- Insider trading or securities fraud
- Fraud related to the sale of municipal or US Treasury bonds
Other Types of Fraud against the Government
More than every time the government allocates federal resources to a project or concern, someone involved will attempt to misuse the funds for his or her personal gain. In addition to the types of fraud listed above, qui tam relators have had success fighting corruption in multiple other areas, including:
- Disaster Relief
Disaster relief fraud is the most egregious type of whistleblower case, because the money which is stolen from the government is meant to assist people in desperate trouble.When a large scale disaster strikes, like a hurricane, earthquake or flood, the federal government spends billions of dollars restoring the area affected. In many cases, millions of dollars are sent to the area within days of the disaster.The need for immediate assistance and the amount of money available make disaster relief efforts a prime target for fraud. After Hurricane Katrina, multiple reports came out about hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent of phantom victims, renovations which cost several times more than what was reasonable, and public assistance money that simply vanished. While some of these contractors have been held responsible for their crimes, many have not.
- Energy Fraud
Energy companies are some of the most profitable organizations in the world. In order to maintain their record-setting profits, many energy companies cut corners by manipulating the amount of money they pay the federal government for searching for and developing new sources of energy.Oil, gas, and coal companies must pay the federal government royalties for the opportunity to look for natural resources on federally owned land. Qui tam cases against energy companies often involve corporations which manipulate the amount of money they owe the federal government in royalties.
- Research and Grant Fraud
The federal government provides hundreds of millions of dollars in grant money every year to researchers who look to create new or improved ways to harvest and use energy. Research grant fraud is rampant, and includes using grant money for unrelated research, falsifying grant applications in order to secure funding, or falsifying the results of the research in order to continue receiving funding.
Riddle & Brantley Can Help You Stop Fraud
Fraud against the government comes in many forms, can be found in every area of government spending. If you have personal knowledge of a company or organization which is defrauding the government or misusing government funds, you may be able to file a whistleblower lawsuit. If your lawsuit is successful, you are entitled to a portion of the money which the government recovers from the wrongdoer.
At Riddle & Brantley, our experienced qui tam attorneys can evaluate your whistleblower case and help you develop the strongest course of action. If you believe that your employer, or another government contractor is defrauding the government, call (800) 525-7111 or use our case evaluation form to have your claim reviewed for free by one of our North Carolina attorneys. We will walk you through the process of filing a qui tam case, and help you make sure your rights are protected before and after your case is filed.