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Whistleblowers rake in the dough: $3.3 billion recovered


Whistleblowers rake in the dough: $3.3 billion recovered


      Whistleblowers may end up with no friends in the long run, but they sure have helped out the U.S. government and themselves in the process. Their tips have lead to the Justice Department’s recovery of $3.3 billion in frauds against the government this year.  That’s a record high in fraud recoveries. The whistleblowers themselves end up better as well, with massive rewards for their cooperation. One man hauled in over $100 million after reporting illegal transactions by the bank he was working with.

     Under a law that covers fraud against the government, the False Claims Act (FCA), claims made by the whistleblowers are examined. The FCA lets private citizens file lawsuits on the government’s behalf under one of its provisions.                  

     The citizen is then able to claim a chunk of the penalties or fines if their cases are successful. Before the end of the fiscal year in September, the government reclaimed five billion dollars in FCA cases. Healthcare fraud accounted for three billion dollars in fraud. The $26 billion foreclosure settlement left mortgage servicers paying over $900 million. The record FCA recoveries was the $3.2 billion that the government brought back in the previous fiscal year.

     The executive director of the National Whistleblower Center, Stephen Kohn, believes that the increase in whistle blowing and its recoveries comes from people becoming more aware.                                  

Corporate fraud is becoming more visible and whistleblowers are being rewarded handsomely for their services. In the GlaxoSmithKline case, six whistleblowers received a combined total of $46.5 million. A former UBS banker received $104 million from the IRS last year for exposing the tax fraud committed by the bank’s clients.

     The Securities and Exchange Commission also launched their whistleblower program last year. Kohn says, “People are seeing that whistleblowers can win, they can land on their feet, and that the concept of the government paying a large monetary reward is not ‘pie in the sky.’”


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