The government offers monetary incentives to people who expose certain types of illegal activities. These incentives are called whistleblower awards. Under federal law, the government is required to reward people who blow the whistle with a percentage of the money that the government is able to recover because of their whistleblowing. As a reward for reporting misconduct against the government, whistleblowers may be awarded up to 30% of the money that the government is able to recover. The employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler assist whistleblowers with filing their claims on behalf of the government.
There are four primary whistleblower programs in the U.S., including the following:
CFTC whistleblower program – Provides whistleblower rewards to people who report violations of the Commodity Exchange Act;
SEC whistleblower program – Provides rewards to people who report violations of the securities laws;
False Claims Act – Rewards whistleblowers who report fraud against the government; and
IRS whistleblower program – Offers rewards to people who report tax fraud or underpayments.
Each of these programs has its own procedures and rules for receiving a reward. An experienced whistleblower attorney at Swartz Swidler can explain whether your claim qualifies for a reward.
The CFTC whistleblower reward program
The CFTC issues awards to people who report original information about people and entities who have violated the Commodity Exchange Act. The rewards are available if the whistleblower reports lead to an enforcement action with sanctions of more than $1 million. The reward may range from 10% to 30% of the money that is collected.
The SEC whistleblower reward program
The Securities and Exchange Commission issues whistleblower awards to people who report information that results in enforcement actions that have monetary penalties that total more than $1 million. The reward may range from 10% to 30$ of the total that is recovered.
False Claims Act whistleblower program
The False Claims Act is a federal law that has a qui tam provision. The provision allows whistleblowers to file lawsuits on the government’s behalf against people and entities who have defrauded the government. People are eligible for between 15% to 30% of any monetary recovery, and whistleblowers are also protected from retaliation.
Qui tam lawsuits have resulted in billions of dollars in monetary recoveries. In 2017 alone, the government was able to recover $3.4 billion and paid $392 million in rewards to whistleblowers under the False Claims Act.
IRS whistleblower reward program
The IRS offers rewards to whistleblowers who report tax fraud or underpayments from 15% to 30% of the total amount recovered. To be eligible for a reward, the following must occur:
- You must give a tip that the IRS decides to act upon;
- The amount that is in dispute must exceed $2 million; and
- The IRS is able to collect underpayments that result from the action.
A man named Bradley Birkenfeld collected the largest IRS whistleblower reward in the amount of $104 million. He reported UBS for helping rich Americans to evade taxes by hiding their assets.
Contact the whistleblower attorneys at Swartz Swidler
The experienced whistleblower attorneys at Swartz Swidler have helped whistleblowers with making reports of misconduct and collecting whistleblower rewards. If you believe that you have inside knowledge about misconduct that falls under one of these four programs, you may have legal rights. Contact Swartz Swidler today to schedule a free consultation.