Types of Claims
There are many different ways to become a whistleblower…
A whistleblower can seek assistance to file a lawsuit under many different legal theories. Regardless of the specific legal requirements for each type of claim, each cause of action requires an individual individual with knowledge of illegal activities and the courage to provide that information. Reporting information about fraud, corruption or other illegal activities is helps eliminate fraud in waste in our government, provides a meaningful check on the power of corporations, and can also be financially rewarding to those with the fortitude to bring such claims.
The FCPA prohibits U.S. companies and individuals from paying money or any other sort of inducement to a foreign official to influence a decision or action affecting that company’s business. The FCPA is intended to prevent corporations from using corporate funds to pay bribes in foreign countries. Such payments subvert the laws of other countries, the United States, and result in unfair trade practices among American corporations.
Whistleblowers who report such incidents may be entitled to a reward of up to 30 percent of the amount recovered in prosecuted FCPA cases. Under the FCPA a whistleblower could be rewarded with millions of dollars for simply reporting the malfeasance of an American company.
The FCPA prohibits any corrupt payment intended to influence any act or decision of a foreign official in his or her official capacity, to induce the official to do or omit to do any act in violation of his or her lawful duty, to obtain any improper advantage, or to induce a foreign official to use his or her influence improperly to affect or influence any act or decision.
Payments made by whom?
The FCPA potentially applies to any individual, firm, officer, director, employee,
or agent of a firm and any stockholder acting on behalf of a firm. Individuals and
firms may also be penalized if they order, authorize, or assist someone else to
violate the anti-bribery provisions or if they conspire to violate those provisions.
Application of the FCPA depends on whether the violator is an “issuer,” a “domestic concern,” or a foreign national or business. An “issuer” is a corporation that has issued securities that have been registered in the United States or who is required to file periodic reports with the SEC.
A “domestic concern” is any individual who is a citizen, national, or resident of the United States, or any corporation, partnership, association, joint-stock company, business trust, unincorporated organization, or sole proprietorship which has its principal place of business in the United States, or which is organized under the laws of a State of the United States, or a territory, possession, or commonwealth of the United States.
Payments made to whom?
The FCPA applies only to corrupt payments to any public official, regardless of rank or position, a foreign political party or party official, or any candidate for foreign political office. A “foreign official” means any officer or employee of a foreign government, a public international organization, or any department or agency thereof, or any person acting in an official capacity.
The FCPA focuses on the purpose of the payment instead of the particular duties of the official receiving the payment, offer, or promise of payment. There are exceptions to the anti-bribery provision for “facilitating payments for routine governmental action.”
What is corrupt intent?
The person making or authorizing the payment must have a corrupt intent. This means that the payment must be intended to induce the recipient to misuse his official position to do any act in violation of his or her lawful duty or to direct business wrongfully to the payer or to any other person.
The FCPA does not require that a corrupt act succeed in its purpose. The offer or promise of a corrupt payment alone can constitute a violation of the statute.
What constitutes a payment?
The FCPA prohibits paying, offering, promising to pay (or authorizing to pay or offer) money or any other thing of value.
What is the Dodd-Frank Act?
The Dodd-Frank Act was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Barrack Obama on July 21, 2010. The Dodd-Frank Act, in original form, spans over 2,000 pages long. The purpose of the Dodd-Frank Act was to restore public confidence in the U.S. financial system in the wake of the financial crisis around the world and to enact legal measures that would help prevent another financial crisis in the future. Among other things, the Dodd-Frank Act establishes the new Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program to help stop corporate corruption.
What is the new Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program?
The Dodd-Frank Act contains over 500 separate sections and affects almost every aspect of the U.S. financial services industry. One of these sections (Section 922) establishes the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program. A “whistleblower” is a person who raises a concern, through an attorney or individually, to the government about bribery or other wrongdoing occurring at a company or by company employees. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the U.S. government is required to pay “whistleblowers” at least 10% and up to 30% of any fine in excess of $1 million against the company and to the U.S. government agency in charge of overseeing the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program (which is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or SEC). The purpose of Section 922 is to increase the U.S. government’s ability to stop overseas corporate bribery and other wrongdoing by allowing the whistleblower to share in the tens or hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars that the SEC can assess as fines to the company.
The False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 – 3733 was enacted in 1863 during the Civil War when Congress was concerned that suppliers were defrauding the Army. The FCA has undergone continual revision since that time and today provides a well developed system for citizens to report those who defraud the government in some way.
Generally, the FCA provides that any person who knowingly submits a false claim to the government, or causes another to submit a false claim to the government, or knowingly makes a false record or statement to get a false claim paid by the government, or acts improperly to avoid having to pay money to the government, is subject to liability.
The Government or its agencies will determine whether or not an event is actionable and whether or not they wish to pursue the claim. In some instances they opt not to pursue the claim but then allow the person who initiate the suit to do so on their behalf. In these instances the whistleblower’s potential award is much greater.
Qui tam lawsuits have proven to be an effective way for whistleblowers to help the government stop many kinds of fraud. These fraudulent activities cost the U.S. government and its citizens billions of taxpayer dollars.
Quit Tam lawsuits also allow whistleblowers an opportunity to be rewarded for exposing and helping to stop all manner of fraud against the U.S. government.
Qui Tam cases typically involve a whistleblower making the decision to bring the evidence they have to a lawyer or other group that can assist them in filing an action to expose and stop the fraud that they have discovered. The MWBR site is affiliated with lawyers worldwide who can assist in exposing fraud and making certain that those perpetrating the fraud are brought to justice. There are many types of Qui Tam actions covering subject matters ranging from natural resource and conservation to tax matters. Regardless, MWBR’s network of attorneys has experience in a multitude of legal practice areas and we will ensure that your case is handled quickly and properly.
As a word of warning, A qui tam lawsuit can be dismissed if others have already made the same or similar allegations. Quit Tam cases can also be dismissed if the fraud becomes public knowledge before the case is filed. If you have a potential case, do not hesitate to contact us.