Whistleblowers are helping state and local governments bring in billions of dollars by exposing fraud and other illegal activities.
According to a recent study from the Public Citizen, whistleblowers have led to $6.6 billion in penalties against drug manufacturers, particularly for fraudulently charging high prices in the Medicaid program. The study also revealed that the government has recovered more overall in financial penalties against drug makers since 2009 than in the previous 18 years combined, with whistleblowers helping open about three quarters of the cases.
One of the top pharmaceutical industry whistle-blowers in the country is Ven-A-Care, a small pharmacy in Key West. Since 2001, the pharmacy has brought in over $1.3 billion to the federal government. The Law Journal estimated that the four owners of the pharmacy have received $340 million from the settlements as a reward.
However, whistle-blowing is not only limited to the healthcare system. The federal government is also using whistleblowers to uncover banks that hide assets of U.S account holders. A former UBS private banker was recently rewarded $104 million for providing information on a $20 billion tax evasion scheme by a Swiss bank. As a result, UBS was ordered to pay a record-breaking fine of $780 million and the IRS collected $5 billion in back taxes, fines and penalties.
In Florida, employees who blow the whistle are protected under the law. The Whistleblower's Act makes it illegal to punish an employee for revealing information on laws being broken, mismanagement of funds or any abuse by a public agency, official, private employer or worker.
In hard economic times whistleblowers have become very important. Many states are facing Medicaid budget shortfalls and fraud that is costing taxpayers billions of dollars, so it is important to speak out against people or corporations abusing the system.
For more information regarding whistle-blowing, please visit http://www.federalwhistleblowerlawyers.com.
Source: Miami Herald, "Keys pharmacy top whistle-blower," Sept. 28, 2011.
Daily Business Review, "Ex-UBS banker to get record $104 million reward from IRS," Sept. 12, 2012.