Stop and Think Before ‘Blowing the Whistle’

Whistleblowers are the key to exposing corporate wrongdoing and government fraud. A person with first-hand knowledge of fraud or other wrongdoing may have a whistleblower case. 

For example, California tech company NextGen Healthcare developed and sold Electronic Health Care software to healthcare providers throughout the United States. They received incentive payments for the software’s “meaningful use” under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). 

According to the complaint, the software NextGen sold was “woefully inadequate,” preventing providers from safely and reliably providing clinical care. Many flaws created an “acute risk” to patient health and safety. The complaint added that the flaws and others made the software non-compliant with the HITECH Act and ineligible for incentive payments. 

The court ordered NextGen to pay three times the damages the U.S. sustained because of its actions, plus civil penalties. They were also issued a cease and desist for the software’s use. 

The two nurse-turned-whistleblowers in the case received up to $5.58 million from the federal government for pursuing their claims for the past five years. 

Before you “blow the whistle” on suspected fraud or wrongdoing, it is crucial to ensure you have a valid claim and are prepared for what lies ahead: 

  • Be hands-on– A whistleblower must have first-hand knowledge of the fraud or other wrongdoing to file a claim. It is essential to have physical evidence such as documents, emails, invoices, billing statements, or other materials that support your allegations. 
  • Be specific– Identify the “who, what, when and where” of the fraud. Organize your information and, if possible, create a timeline for the fraudulent conduct. You will be required to explain why the conduct is fraudulent.  
  • Verify criteria– The fraud must be against the US Government to file a federal False Claims Act case. You may file a state False Claims Act case, provided your state has one if state funds are affected by the fraud. (Visit our states FCA page for a list of states and their FCAs.) 
  • Check yourself– If you are a government employee who witnesses fraud against the government, you may need first to try to report the fraud through channels within your agency before filing a whistleblower lawsuit. Talk to an attorney to determine if you should take this course. 
  • Talk to a lawyer– A whistleblower lawyer can help you navigate a potential claim and guide you through what is often a lengthy process. Although your information will initially be kept confidential, you will eventually be identified as the whistleblower. Your lawyer can help you obtain whistleblower protections under the False Claims Act. 
  • Determine motive- The fraud must have been committed willingly and deliberately. Mismanagement is not a cause for a whistleblower claim. 

If you feel you have a claim, our attorneys would like to talk to you. Beasley Allen has a talented team of attorneys dedicated to pursuing whistleblower cases. We want to meet with you confidentially to review your potential whistleblower claim. 


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