10 ways to evaluate a whistleblower claim

posted on:
March 12, 2014

author:
Kurt Niland

In 2006, health care entrepreneur and author Adam Resnick sued Omnicare Inc., a major supplier of prescription drugs to nursing homes, under the federal False Claims Act, alleging the company was involved in illegal kickback schemes that put nursing home profits ahead of patients’ medical care.

Since then, Resnick has acquired several years of experience as a whistleblower, successfully exposing Medicare and Medicaid fraud and helping the U.S. government recover vital health care funds.

In an article he wrote for the Huffington Post, Resnick offered 10 tips to anyone thinking about blowing the whistle on fraud and other wrongdoing. His advice includes getting an experienced lawyer who can help you make sure you have a case, being open to answering tough questions and looking honestly at the truth of the situation, and he advises potential whistleblowers to be prepared for the investigation to take a long time.

Resnick speaks from experience when he says whistleblowing can be the career equivalent of walking through a mine field. He emphasizes it’s important to contact a lawyer immediately who can navigate you through the process, such as what documents you are allowed or prohibited to take. One wrong move could potentially destroy your case and your career.

For this reason, he says, finding a lawyer with experience handling whistleblower cases will be valuable. He advises potential whistleblowers to check to make sure their lawyer isn’t representing anyone with a similar claim before divulging specific information. He says you should always hire a whistleblower lawyer who works on contingency fees, never on an hourly basis unless your case is an employment one.

Also, expect your lawyer to thoroughly question your allegations. This is usually a necessary measure to ensure you have a solid case. If your allegations don’t convince your lawyer, they will not hold water with the federal government. Resnick emphasizes that the government needs solid evidence of fraud before a whistleblower claim under the False Claims Act, IRS, or Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) can go forward. Some whistleblowers think they can act on generalized tips and have their lawyers subpoena the evidence, but that’s not how it works.

Potential whistleblowers also should expect their case to take a long time to resolve. Many whistleblowers think companies will settle quickly to avoid trial and lots of bad press. “They never do,” says Resnick, so don’t hope for a quick resolution to your case.

Additionally, expect that you will eventually be identified as the whistleblower. While whistleblower cases are filed under seal, anonymity is never guaranteed. In fact, every whistleblower should expect to be outed eventually, even if precautions have been taken to mitigate that risk.

This is just some of the advice Resnick offers. Read his 10 Tips list at Huffington Post.

Lawyers in the Consumer Fraud Section at Beasley Allen continue to investigate, file, and litigate whistleblower cases under the False Claims Act. They are also taking cases under state law in states that have whistleblower statutes.

“Mr. Resnick’s article is an excellent summary of what all potential whistleblowers should do if they wish to blow the whistle,” says Beasley Allen lawyer Andrew Brashier, who works in this section. “In order to have a fighting chance, potential whistleblowers should contact an experienced firm that has regularly handled qui tam claims, such as Beasley Allen. We will speak to potential whistleblowers under complete confidentiality and for free to evaluate their potential case.”

If you would like more information about a whistleblower case, call 800-898-2034 and ask for Larry Golston (Larry.Golston@BeasleyAllen.com), Lance Gould (Lance.Gould@BeasleyAllen.com), Archie Grubb (Archie.Grubb@BeasleyAllen.com), or Andrew Brashier (Andrew.Brashier@BeasleyAllen.com). Each of these lawyers is actively involved in whistleblower litigation.

Source: Huffington Post

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