Heightened Whistleblower Protection Laws Help Increase Recovery for the Government

With the implementation of more legislation protecting whistleblowers, the rate at which whistleblowers come forward has increased. In 2014, the DOJ recovered a record $5.69 billion through settlements related to False Claims Act cases.  That is up from $3.8 billion recovered in 2013.  Since 2009, the DOJ has recovered $22.75 billion in total from fraud settlements.  Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce R. Branda has stressed that the DOJ “will continue to enforce the law aggressively to ensure the integrity of government programs designed to keep us safer, healthier and economically more prosperous.

The largest source of recovery in 2014 under the False Claims Act was financial fraud claims. The DOJ recovered a record $3.1 billion from banks and financial institutions.  Many of these actions dealt with false claims for federally insured mortgages and loans.  Two of the United States’ largest financial institutions settled for $1.85 billion and $614 million.  More than sixty cases have been filed against financial institutions since 2009.

Another large source of settlements under the False Claims Act comes from the healthcare industry.  In 2014, claims involving medicare/medicaid fraud accounted for $2.3 billion in recovery.  The government has recovered more than $2 billion for healthcare-related fraud every year since 2010.  In cases involving hospitals, there have been $333 million in settlements and judgments.

Numerous whistleblowers have also come forward to the SEC with allegations of securities and financial fraud.  In 2014 alone, the Office of the Whistleblower received 3,620 whistleblower reports under the Dodd-Frank Act, resulting in nine recoveries in 2014.  The success of the SEC Whistleblower program can be partially attributed to its incentive program. Whistleblower awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money recovered by the government. In September 2014, SEC announced a $30 million whistleblower award, the largest SEC whistleblower award in the history of the program.  Sean McKessy, chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, hopes these awards will lead to more high-quality tips, expressing that “[w]histleblowers from all over the world should feel similarly incentivized to come forward with credible information about potential violations of the U.S. securities laws.”

If you have information about fraudulent activity and are considering making a claim, we encourage you to learn more about our whistleblower practice. It is important to involve an attorney early in the process to achieve the highest level of protection and success.


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