The U.S. government has laws in place to encourage citizens – government and non-government – to speak out about white-collar crimes such as fraud and embezzlement. These laws, referred to as “whistleblower” laws, offer claimants certain protections such as sealed cases and confidentiality. They also provide potential awards and compensation for coming forward with valid information about the wrongdoing of other individuals or entities. The attorneys at Butler Wooten & Peak LLP can help you understand whistleblower laws, and file a claim in Georgia if need be.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have federal laws in place regarding whistleblowers. These laws allow individuals to exercise their rights as citizens and employees without fear of negative consequences. Whistleblower protection programs keep claimants safe from retaliation by their employers or the alleged offender. “Retaliation” may include firing, demoting, disciplining, intimidating, harassing, or threatening the individual.
The IRS Whistleblower Office deals with cases involving tax evasion and fraud. The IRS will give an award to anyone who blows the whistle on individuals or entities that fail to pay their taxes. If the IRS ends up using the information the whistleblower provides, the person can receive up to 30% of the awards, taxes, and penalties it collects. The IRS does request that whistleblowers provide supported, factual information – not educated guesses or mere speculation. The IRS Whistleblower Office is also not the correct channel for settling personal business issues – it is only interested in significant federal tax fraud.
The SEC Office of the Whistleblower handles claims involving securities law violations and possible fraud involving investors or financial advisors. The SEC encourages people to come forward with information by offering awards that range between 10-30% of the money the Commission collects using the relator’s information. The SEC’s whistleblower program aims to keep the U.S.’s capital markets in lawful operation. The SEC allows you to submit confidential tips and complaints for eligibility for an award.
As a whistleblower, it is your duty to report information accurately, honestly, and to the full extent of your knowledge. Withholding information can lead to the IRS/SEC or other government agency failing to take your claim seriously, or losing your opportunity to receive an award. Know that you can blow the whistle on schemes and documents even if you don’t possess physical evidence. Simply describe what you know to your attorney or the agency to the best of your ability. Do not partake in illegal actions such as breaking and entering to secure evidence of fraud. Leave the investigation up to the government.
At Butler Wooten & Peak LLP, we provide whistleblower counsel and services around the nation. We’ve represented individuals who have the courage to come forward about illegal business practices, tax evasion, and white-collar fraud schemes. We help private citizens in total confidentiality, and pursue maximum whistleblower lawsuit settlements on their behalf. We can help you file a claim via the federal False Claims Act, the Georgia Taxpayer Protection False Claims Act, or through programs with the IRS or SEC. Our team knows how to take care of the paperwork and processes involved in these claims.
The False Claims Act offers powerful protection to whistleblowers. With the right attorney, you don’t need to worry about your identity going public or retaliation from your employer or other entity. You can speak your piece, possibly collect an award, and carry on without anybody knowing you were the individual who brought fraud to the government’s attention. Come to Butler Wooten & Peak LLP for dependable, completely confidential legal services. We serve Atlanta, Georgia and clients around the country. Reach out today for a free consultation.