The Associated Press reported last week that the Internal Revenue Service has awarded its first whistleblower award and it is big — $4.5 million which nets over $3 million in the pocket of an observant honest citizen. Atlanta Injury Attorneys Blog readers may be aware that Georgia law provides for whistleblower and qui tam awards when fraud or other abuse are reported and proven in many circumstances.
Whistleblowers are individuals who are in a position to have specific knowledge about wrongdoing and take steps to report fraud or other wrongdoing in their companies or workplaces. The law protects them from retaliation from their employer and often they are entitled to recover an award from appropriate governmental agencies when they report fraudulent activity that is legally proven to have occurred. Recent examples of whistleblower awards include those involving the tobacco industry, securities and mortgage industries, and the pharmaceutical industry, among others.
The IRS matter involved an accountant who blew the whistle on his employer for failing to pay federal taxes. The underlying tax liability is about $20 million plus interest.
The accountant sought a whistleblower lawyer to move the case forward. The matter had been reported by a complaint to the IRS Whistleblower Office in 2007. The accountant whistleblower wants his identity to remain confidential and reportedly plans to keep working in his small town. That decision to keep working, might just reflect the values of someone who is willing to report fraud when he or she sees it.
This award was made possible because the IRS established a Whistleblower office after Congress authorized it in 2006. It is intended to provide incentives for employees and others to provide information on tax fraud. It provides for awards when the amount of unpaid tax is over $2 million. Reportedly, the IRS is waiting for the two-year period for tax appeals to expire before finalizing awards.
The taxes and interest that was not paid will now be placed in the United States Treasury. But without the whistleblower, it might not have determined that the funds were owed. Whistleblower programs are beneficial to governmental agencies and the public. And while whistleblowers are courageous people, the law protects them from retaliation.
Georgia law provides that awards can be paid to whistleblowers who report fraud by entities that, for example, submit false claims for reimbursement. A Georgia qui tam lawsuit is a suit involving an organization or company that is engaging in fraud against the government. This can include fraudulent use of government funds stemming from over-billing, false billing and other fraudulent activities to improperly receive government funds.
Georgia injury attorney Charles Scholle handles qui tam actions and protects whistleblowers from retaliation while ensuring that they receive the awards they are due. Contact The Law Office of P. Charles Scholle, P.C. to learn about your legal rights and interests in recovering in a whistleblower or qui tam action.