Whistleblowers are afforded protections under numerous laws, including the False Claims Act, the Dodd-Frank Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and multiple environmental laws.
In fact, a single whistleblower claim may be covered under more than one statute, so it is important to obtain experienced legal counsel to determine the optimal course of action.
The attorneys of Hilder & Associates, P.C., are experienced litigators with a record of success in representing whistleblowers in a variety of cases.
To discuss your concerns regarding corporate fraud or misconduct, contact our offices in Houston to arrange a consultation.
What types of fraud or misconduct can whistleblowers report?
Generally, there are three kinds of misconduct covered by whistleblower laws:
- Conduct resulting in financial loss to the government
- Securities or commodities fraud resulting in harm to investors
- Conduct resulting in harm to the general public or specific employees
To whom should a whistleblower report fraud or misconduct?
Corporate fraud or misconduct can be reported internally within the company or to the appropriate government agency — or to both. However, in order to be eligible for a reward under any of the whistleblower statutes, you must report the fraud or misconduct to the government and be the first to do so.
Who can blow the whistle?
No matter who you are, if you have evidence of corporate misconduct or fraud, you can be a whistleblower. While many whistleblowers are current or former employees of the accused company, it is not necessary that you be an employee in order to blow the whistle, and you need not have witnessed the fraudulent activity yourself.
You must, however, have evidence of fraud or misconduct.
What kind of evidence is required?
In general, evidence of corporate fraud must be original, concrete and specific — not something that can be gleaned easily from the internet, a court record or a government report. Suspicion alone is not enough for a successful whistleblower claim.
It also helps to have a clear idea of who committed the fraud, where and when it happened, and why and how it happened. If you have questions about making sense of evidence of corporate fraud, contact an experienced whistleblower attorney.
Is there a timeframe in which fraud or misconduct should be reported?
Yes. There are statutes of limitations for whistleblower claims. For example, under Dodd-Frank and the False Claims Act, a whistleblower claim must be filed within six years of the alleged violation; within three years of the date when the facts of the fraud became known or should reasonably have been known to the employee; or no later than 10 years after the violation.
Generally, a whistleblower claim should be filed as soon as possible after the fraud becomes known to the whistleblower.