We regularly report about cases involving false claims for reimbursement under the False Claims Act. But did you know there are several other statutes providing for whistleblower causes of action? The following article explores some other areas of fraud, including tax, securities and commodities trading fraud. Each of these statutes allows for qui tam plaintiffs to raise a claim against an individual or entity engaging in misconduct with regard to federal money and provides an opportunity for a relator to receive a percentage of money recovered under the action. If you are considering a whistleblower lawsuit or have information about possible misuse of taxpayer funds, a whistleblower attorney is the best person to speak with about the facts of your case.
IRS Tax Fraud
While most Americans pay the taxes they owe, many individuals and businesses work overtime looking for ways to scam the Man. In response, the IRS relies upon whistleblower provisions in the Tax Relief and Health Care Act to police tax evaders and reduce underpayment or fraud. The Act provides a mandatory reward amount to any whistleblower who leads the IRS to a tax recovery of at least $2 million (inclusive of penalties and interest). Tax fraud whistleblowers stand to receive an award between 15 and 20 percent of the total take.
The securities industry is widely regulated and the Securities and Exchange Commission participates in its oversight. Fraud in securities and secured transactions contributed, in large part, to the economic meltdown of 2008 and resulted in President Obama’s enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Within the Dodd-Frank Act are whistleblower provisions providing relators a recovery of between 10 and 30 percent of any amount recovered. Whistleblower awards are only available for causes of action resulting in a government recovery of at least $1 million and must derive from information that is or was not public knowledge at the time of the claim.
Commodities Trading Fraud
The Dodd-Frank Act also contains provisions creating the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Whistleblower Office. As the name suggests, this Office is tasked with pursuing claims by whistleblowers involving fraud or misconduct in the context of the trading of primary goods (e.g., agriculture products, gold or oil). If a whistleblower believes a trader is defrauding investors, he could recover between 10 and 30 percent of any recovery exceeding $1 million.
If You Are Aware of Fraud, Come Forward
Not every instance of fraud or misconduct against the government comes from health care reimbursement or defense contracting. If you have information about fraudulent activity on behalf of your investment banker, broker or tax preparer, so long as you have not participated or benefitted from the fraud, you are encouraged to come forward. A whistleblower attorney can meet with you, discuss the details you have gathered, and commence a lawsuit if enough facts support an assertion of fraud.