A whistleblower is a person who comes forward and exposes knowledge of any wrongdoing in a company, corporation, government agency, or program. The person could be an employee, contractor, or a supplier who becomes aware of any illegal activities such as fraud, corruption, etc. Exposing the wrongdoing to the public or courts is a crucial function to keep graft and greed out of our important organizations. There are legal protections for whistle blowers, and having a criminal defense attorney aid you in exposing the malfeasance can help protect you and help advocate for justice.
A whistleblower case is also called a “Qui Tam” claim. The simple explanation of what a whistleblower or qui tam case is for example when a person or company is cheating the government out of money through fraud or criminal activity. Think of a situation where a company bills for services not actually rendered or knowingly delivers faulty or defective products. Such claims can be brought federally, on a state level, or both. If the case is successful, the whistle-blower can receive a percentage of the savings brought to the government. Because you are dealing with big numbers for the government, sometimes qui tam claims can yield big rewards for the person brave enough to stand up to a corrupt corporation and fight for the little guy – the tax payers getting cheated by the big, corrupt corporation.
Criminal defense attorneys make great lawyers in qui tam cases for whistleblowers. Why is this? The person bringing the claim, the whistleblower, is called a “relator.” One of the first things that their attorney does is bring the client to a US attorney or government attorney to privately and confidentially discuss their claim. At first blush somebody might say, ‘Hey, don't defense attorneys usually fight prosecutors?' Yes, we do but we also respect each other and we defense attorneys know how prosecutors think, more so than civil attorneys. We develop respect by fighting hard in the same trenches as the prosecutors. We know what points that government prosecutors will listen to and what points they won't listen to. Defense attorneys routinely present people facing multiple felonies to prosecutors as deserving of leniency, ‘I know my client is charged with these serious crimes, but here's the whole truth of what happened. Here's more information from his life that is relevant to this incident.' If defense attorneys do that with people facing substantial penalties, we can certainly do it with a whistleblower.
Another point that someone might bring up is, ‘Hey, I thought defense attorneys fight the government? If you fight the government why here do you want to fight for the government?' We do fight the government but we fight the government when the government steps out of line. We fight bullies. We fight people who are in powerful positions when they are doing wrong against others. So in qui tam/whistleblower claim case, a defense attorney is a natural at fighting the corrupt corporation for the little guy, the taxpayers who so happen to be represented by the government. A good defense attorney, such as attorneys at Tully & Weiss, fight for our clients, no matter what the odds, and we're not afraid. At Tully and Weiss, we don't back down against the government that's armed to the teeth against us and can outmatch our resources in every single case, then we're certainly not going to back down against a corporation that has no power over us. So for these reasons, defense attorneys make great whistleblower attorneys. Contact us for a free consultation regarding your whistle blower case.