Aggressive Advocates For Whistleblowers
The attorneys at Hoyer Law Group, PLLC, are aggressive advocates for whistleblowers. Whether you are contemplating blowing the whistle on illegal activity or experiencing retaliation for taking a stand, we can help.
Our attorneys have experience litigating a wide variety of whistleblower matters ranging from reporting health care fraud and obtaining rewards for recouping money stolen from the government to ending illegal pollution and protecting the careers of federal employees who seek to stop fraud, waste, abuse and gross mismanagement.
Call us at 844-277-1217 or contact us online to discuss your rights and your options.
Types Of Fraud Reported By Whistleblowers
Potential whistleblowers should keep in mind that there are many arenas for False Claims Act fraud besides the high-profile ones involving Medicare and defense industry contracting like off-label marketing and prescription drug sales. Federal student loan and financial aid programs, which include Pell grants, Stafford loans and PLUS loans, continue to be another area ripe for abuse and one in which our firm has specific expertise.
How We Help
We can help you navigate the complex web of state and federal whistleblower laws. We are your advocate every step of the way. We can help you make anonymous disclosures to agencies and inspectors general, represent your interests before the Office of Special Counsel or Department of Justice and, of course, fight for you in the courtroom.
Many potential whistleblowers and their lawyers believe all they need to do is file a complaint, and then sit back and wait to receive a big check. Unfortunately, it does not happen that way. After you file a whistleblower lawsuit, the government assigns it to a government lawyer who has numerous other assignments on their desk.
You need someone who can get your case to the top of the pile. Hoyer Law Group, PLLC’s attorneys leverage their decades of experience to turn your knowledge into results in a whistleblower complaint. Our law firm is uniquely qualified to enhance your whistleblower case’s likelihood of success. Our attorneys have litigated big cases before, and our investigative team knows how to prove fraud in a persuasive manner.
Our team’s expert knowledge of how the system works and how to get the government’s interest makes a huge difference when it counts most. Our attorneys have worked with assistant United States attorneys and regulators across the nation, developing invaluable relationships with them along the way. These relationships and the proper presentation of your evidence are crucial to convincing the government to intervene. More than 90% of all whistleblower recoveries come from intervened cases so the importance of this part of the process cannot be overstated.
Further, we know the settlement or verdict is not the last step for you. If we file a False Claims Act case on your behalf, we will pursue the highest possible reward should there be a recovery. Our attorneys have successfully litigated relator’s share disputes in federal court and defended the awards on appeal.
Our Methods Get Results
Over their careers, Hoyer Law Group, PLLC’s attorneys have helped recover hundreds of millions of dollars for the government and exposed some of the worst actors in the whistleblower fraud arena. Read more about our attorneys’ accomplishments in the About Us section or just give us a call if you think you have a case.
“Thank you for your tremendous help settling this case and helping me to move on with my life. Without your guidance, diligence and hard word, I’m sure we could not have closed this chapter. I appreciate your hard work and would like to express my deep gratitude – thank you for being on my team.”
Frequently Asked Questions
I know an individual or a company that is committing fraud. Can I file a False Claims Act case?
What if I work for a publicly traded company that is committing fraud, but the government is not the victim?
What does a False Claims Act case involve?
After a period of investigation, the government has a choice to intervene or decline. If the government intervenes, it will take the lead on settlement negotiations or take the case to trial. If the government declines, the individual who brought the case may choose to move forward on their own. If the case moves forward, the government always has the option to change its mind and intervene at a later date.
It is important to remember that in any False Claims Act case, the United States is the “real party in interest,” which means that the case is really about the government’s interests, not the interests of the person who files the suit. The whole purpose of the matter is to return money fraudulently obtained from the government.
What does qui tam mean?
What is a relator?
Is there a time limitation on when I can file a case?
- Six years from the date of the violation
- Three years from the date the government knew or should have known about the fraud but in no event more than 10 years from the time of the violation, whichever is the latest.
For example, if a fraudulent action occurred four years ago, a suit can still be filed. Also, if the activity occurred seven years ago, but the government does not and could not have known about it until now, then the statute of limitations has not expired, and you can file a lawsuit.
However, if the action occurred 11 years ago, the statute of limitations has expired, and it is too late to file a suit. Also, if the activity occurred eight years ago, but the government knew or should have known about it five years ago, then the statute of limitations has run, and a suit is prohibited.
If I file a case, will my company know about it? Will they know I’m the one who filed it?
The court will only lift the seal and make the lawsuit public once the investigation is complete, and the government has decided whether or not to move forward. With minimal exceptions, this is when the court reveals the relator’s name.
Can I tell my family/friends/co-workers/bosses that I filed this case?
Are there any protections if my company retaliates against me because I filed this lawsuit?
However, this is an after-the-fact provision. The law does not force employers to rehire employees during the case. The employee only receives the law’s protection if they show that the employer retaliated because of the qui tam action
Am I legally a whistleblower?
I think there might be another case about this. Does that matter?
Because of this part of the statute, filing a qui tam case can be a race to the courthouse. For this reason, it is crucial to get a case on file as soon as possible.
I heard about the fraud in publicly available information; can I still file a case about this?
Congress amended this part of the statute to bar any case wherein the “allegations or transactions” were disclosed in a federal criminal, civil or administrative hearing in which the government was a party; in a congressional, GAO or another federal report, hearing, audit or investigation; or in the news media.
The exception to this rule is if the relator is an original source of the information. An “original source” is someone who voluntarily disclosed the information to the government before the public disclosure or who has “knowledge that is independent of and materially adds to the publicly disclosed allegations or transactions.”
Like the first-to-file bar, this requires a very case-specific analysis, so it’s important to discuss this with a lawyer.
Once I file my case, who will investigate my claims?
Once you file a case, the government determines the investigation’s course. The government may ask the relator for help as the case progresses, but all strategic decision-making is up to the government agents assigned to the case. The relator’s role can vary greatly depending on the relator’s employment status and the investigation’s depth. For example, the government may ask a relator to provide a potential witness list, to analyze documents, or even to wear a wire to record conversations.
What can happen to the company if the case is successful?
A company may also be liable for criminal penalties against the company or against individuals who orchestrated and directed the fraud. Criminal penalties can be in the form of fines, asset forfeiture or even jail time.
In the most severe cases, a company may face prohibition from future government contracting. For example, the government may exclude a medical provider from participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs or disbar a defense contractor. The duration or permanency of these sanctions depends on the nature and severity of the fraud.
If a defendant settles with the government, the penalties are often negotiated downward in exchange for the company’s cooperation. Usually, a settling company will also be required to enter into a corporate integrity agreement to allow for government oversight to ensure compliance in the future.
How will I get paid for my role in this case?
If the government intervenes, the relator is entitled to between 15% and 25% of the proceeds. If the government declines, the law increases the relator’s share to between 25% to 30% of the government’s recovery.
However, the court may significantly reduce or eliminate the relator’s share if the relator was an architect of the fraud or substantially participated in it. If the relator is ultimately convicted of criminal conduct related to the allegations, they must be dismissed from the case and cannot share in the proceeds at all.
Importantly, a relator will not collect any portion of a relator’s share until the government resolves the case and receives its funds. There is no provision for payment to the relator while the case is ongoing.
Importantly, a relator will not collect any portion of a relator’s share until the case is finally resolved and the government has received its funds. There is no provision for payment to the relator while the case is ongoing.
Do I have a whistleblower case?
What is the difference between a whistleblower and an informant?
What should you do to become a whistleblower?
I want to move forward. What can I expect next?
Once we file your case, you will begin to prepare for your first meeting with the government, which often takes place within the first few months. At that meeting, the government will want to know everything you know about the case, so you must be prepared. We will meet in advance to ensure you are completely ready.
After the relator’s meeting, you may feel like the case is slowing down. The government takes over the investigation to determine the accuracy of your allegations and whether they want to proceed with the matter. This period can be long or short and can involve a lot of communication with the government or almost none at all. The most important thing you can do is to be patient. Our firm will work to ensure the case moves as quickly as possible and will keep you notified each step of the way.
After the relator’s meeting, you may feel like the case is slowing down. In reality, the baton has been passed to the government, and it will be conducting an investigation to determine the accuracy of your allegations and whether it wants to proceed with the case. This period of time can be long or short and can involve a lot of communication with the government or almost none at all. The most important thing you can do is to be patient. Hoyer Law Group, PLLC, will work to ensure the case moves as quickly as possible and will keep you notified each step of the way.
How long will the case take?
How do I obtain whistleblower status?
There are often headlines in the news stating that someone has been granted “whistleblower status.” Yet, in the law, there’s really no such thing as “whistleblower status.” Rather, whistleblower protection laws typically work by declaring that certain types of conduct is protected, and that an employer cannot take into consideration the protected conduct when deciding whether to take an adverse action against an employee. There is no mechanism that grants “whistleblower status” to a person, or that completely insulates a whistleblower from other repercussions from unprotected conduct.
In other words, if an employee discloses wrongdoing, the employer cannot consider the employee’s disclosure when deciding whether to discipline the employee. However, if the employee did other things that offended the employer that aren’t protected, the employer may still use the unprotected conduct as a reason to punish the employee. In sum, there is no such thing as “whistleblower status” for a whistleblower. Rather, certain acts or conduct may be protected.