When a whistleblower first calls me, he or she has witnessed fraud happening
and is itching to make the Government
do something to stop it. But the Government has hundreds of cases to choose from, and
it takes only about 1 in every 5 cases. While you can pursue a whistleblower
case on your own after the Government declines it, you want to bring the
Government along on your journey if you can. You can read more at my blog post,
Why You Want the Government to Love Your Whistleblower Case.
But how can you make your case strong enough to catch the Government’s
eye? And just what is the Government looking for, anyway?
In the past two blog entries, I’ve talked about four factors: (1)
how much money the Government lost as a result of the fraud; (2) human
harm from the fraud; (3) great evidence that proves your case; and (4)
getting your attorney to help you make the case easy to understand and
explain to the Government and, ultimately, to a jury.
Today I want to talk about two more factors that the Government looks for,
and they both relate to
you, the whistleblower.
5. The “You” Factor.
You’ve got a story, and told well, it can be a powerful asset to
I love working with whistleblowers because they are smart, committed, and
what I’ll call “true blue.” Virtually all of the whistleblowers
who come to me – and 100% of the ones whose cases I take — are
the kind of people who will stand up for what’s right even when
it is hard. To be honest, they can’t help it; it’s who they are.
When I interview my whistleblower clients, I delve into their stories.
I want the Government and ultimately the jury to be as impressed as I
am by my clients, what they did and why.
6. “You’re Fired.”
I cannot begin to count the number of whistleblowers who have called me
and been very embarrassed to tell me that they were fired. It is a very
unfortunate truth that fraudsters often trump up charges against a whistleblower
and fire him. The defendant hopes that if you ever try to tell your story,
it can shrug and claim you’re nothing but a “disgruntled employee”.
Occasionally I find that the whistleblower was fired for something that
has nothing to do with the fraud. More often than not, though, the defendant
went after the whistleblower because the defendant is hiding something;
it does not want the fraud to be exposed.
For most whistleblowers, getting fired is a shock to the system. Many of
them have never been fired from any job before. They are hard workers
who want to do what is right, and in the past, their employers have rewarded
that behavior, not punished it.
Whistleblowers, take heart! If the defendant went after you because you
were trying to stop the fraud, the defendant’s choice is likely
to backfire. What the defendant did to you may go a long way toward convincing
the Government that you are on to something and that there must be some
very uncomfortable truths that the defendant does not want exposed. Depending
on what happened, the fraudster may even be liable for retaliating against you.