“Other people’s money.” The phrase carries a subtle meaning, conveying the impression of some that when – especially in situations when those “other people” are the taxpayers of Wisconsin – it is acceptable to be wasteful or even corrupt in handling that money. The federal government deals with budgets and projects that amount to millions and billions of dollars, after all; given such massive scale, some companies that do business with the government cannot resist the temptation to engage in fiscal carelessness or even chicanery.
Fraud, waste and abuse of state and federal government funds hurts everyone. And if you see it happening in the company where you work, you may be torn between the desire to do something about it, and the concern that if you do your employer will make you wish you hadn’t. That is the reason why laws such as the False Claims Act exist: in part to encourage you to “say something” when you “see something,” and also to insulate you from retaliation when you do the right thing by flagging instances of fraud, waste and abuse of government funds in the company where you work.
The encouragement consists of incentives for those who act as whistle-blowers, significantly the chance in some circumstances to share a percentage of government funds recovered under a False Claims Act lawsuit.
The protection consists of the FCA’s safeguards for employees against retaliatory behavior by their employers when they do the right thing and report improper behavior resulting in the waste or misappropriation of government funds.
Doing the right thing under the auspices of the FCA is not something that you should take on by yourself. In Wisconsin, we at Alan C. Olson & Associates work extensively with whistle-blower claims and retaliation claims on behalf of our clients. You do not need to be a legal expert to know when to do the right thing, but having legal expertise on your side when you do it can make the difference between letting improper behavior go on or taking action to stop it that you may be uniquely situated to take.
To learn more about how we help whistle-blower clients, see our False Claims Act webpage.