Protection for a whistleblower on fraudulent schemes

Fraudulent acts occur every day, and many people are able to commit crimes without consequence. When fraud is suspected, Wisconsin citizens can file a whistleblower claim against a person or business that committed fraud against the U.S. government. Recently, one American whistleblower was sentenced to a yearlong term in federal prison, for not coming to the authorities with knowledge of the fraudulent actions sooner.

Frederic Bourke, philanthropist and multimillionaire businessman, blew the whistle on fraudulent activity, performed by criminals on an international level, in an attempt to privatize and secure power over the oil wealth of the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan. Originally involved as an investor, the supposed entrepreneur in charge of the plan stole every investor’s money, including Bourke’s $8 million investment, and bribed Azeri officials. Bourke reported the knowledge of thievery and bribery, and, as a result, he was the only key witness of the scheme to be jailed. Bourke allegedly violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, on the grounds that he had knowledge of the incident for an extended period of time before blowing the whistle on the activity.

After receiving the alleged violation, Bourke was convicted and locked up in a facility outside of Denver, Colo. His controversial conviction has many parties questioning the case, including the judge who originally decided his fate. In this unique case, it is claimed that the whistleblower came to authorities when it was too late, and therefore he was retaliated against. The man’s rights should have been preserved from the start, to ensure his protection throughout the process.

If an individual has witnessed fraud and is afraid to report it for fear of association or any other factor, there are options. People who have been retaliated against for reporting fraud have the right to be protected under the False Claims Act of 1985. A Wisconsin whistleblower’s rights can be protected by seeking legal counsel.

Source: Democracy Now!, Another U.S. Whistleblower Behind Bars? Investor Jailed After Exposing Corrupt Azerbaijani Oil Deal, No author, Oct. 15, 2013

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