It is extremely important to discuss the discovered fraud only with an experienced lawyer who will maintain confidentiality. Some whistleblowers have had their federal lawsuit dismissed, or their reward severely diminished, because of their premature communications with other people, media reporters, or even government agents. Other people they spoke to went to an experienced False Claims Act lawyer first, and initiated the FCA lawsuit, thereby obtaining the legal rewards for themselves.
Other whistleblowers have naively reported the fraud to the media, or to government agents, causing an in-depth investigation or audit, only to be shocked with the later discovery that their FCA lawsuit was thrown out of court! This seemingly ridiculous situation can be the true-life result of the complex "original source" jurisdiction laws that have developed with the False Claims Act. It can be crucial to avoid speaking to anyone in the media or government agents prematurely, without guidance from attorneys experienced in False Claims Act cases.
With rare exceptions, and only with the guidance of an experienced qui tam attorney, should you speak about fraud you are seeing at the workplace with any co-workers or management. It can cause you to be wrongfully fired or demoted. While the False Claims Act and other whistleblower laws provide rights to powerful economic recoveries to a whistleblower who is retaliated against, it may not be easy proving your case, and it may take several years to collect even if successful. Also, “raising your head” as a whistleblower will almost certainly make it more difficult for you to gather good documents and information to help prove the fraud, and the amounts thereof. It is common knowledge among experienced qui tam lawyers that a whistleblower who “stays inside” is almost always much more powerful and successful in his or her quest to do the right thing, and collect the substantial award that the American people have provided for true, honest whistleblowers.
Choosing the Right Attorney
It can be extremely important to have an attorney experienced with False Claims Act (qui tam) investigations and lawsuits. Such an attorney can be crucial to avoid pitfalls that can ruin a potential case for the whistleblower (relator). Counsel experienced in working with agents and attorneys for the federal government can also be crucial. These agents and attorneys receive many claims of government fraud, and cannot possibly pursue a case on every request.
The accumulation of evidence and presentation to the federal agents and attorneys, and the ongoing work and assistance provided by experienced counsel for the whistleblower, even after a lawsuit has been joined by the federal attorneys, can be extremely important. The initial gathering, organizing and presenting of the evidence, getting the federal government to join (intervene) with the case, and working with them for a successful conclusion, are all crucial steps. False Claim Act lawsuits can also be very expensive to pursue. The largest expense is nearly always the cost of experts that can analyze and substantiate not only the fraud, but especially the true extent and calculation of it.
The Best Court Venue for Your False Claims Act Case
Certain federal courts in different areas of the country have interpreted and ruled on crucial parts of the False Claims Act in different ways. Such views of these parts of the law may be crucial to the success of your particular qui tam lawsuit. Sometimes the situation allows for options on which federal court the lawsuit can be filed at, thus potentially allowing the choosing of a better court for interpretation of the law.
Also, federal attorneys in some states or cities are more experienced in pursuing False Claims Act cases, and having these federal attorneys agree to join (intervene) in the case can be of great importance