Why Would Anyone Oppose Whistleblower Programs?
For the last 30 days, we have explored the fraud schemes that siphon government dollars and undermine our financial markets. We have documented how incentivized whistleblower programs unmask the perpetrators of these frauds and recover billions of stolen dollars for the U.S. Treasury and the American people. We have discussed how whistleblowers effectively safeguard our prescription drugs, medical devices, healthcare dollars, cryptocurrency markets, automobiles, non-healthcare government programs, government grants, financial markets, accounting standards, Medicare Advantage programs, private insurance, housing markets, military expenditures, state government programs, telehealth, COVID relief efforts, environment, local government programs, and our supply chain.
Well, as we now emerge from a global pandemic and navigate complicated financial issues like deficits and inflation in the months and years ahead, there are two things the numbers tell us with certainty. First, so long as the government awards billions of dollars in contracts and our markets move trillions of dollars in financial transactions, opportunistic fraudsters seeking ill-gotten gains will target them. Second, whistleblowers are the most powerful tool we have to expose these fraudsters. Their apologists may seek to undermine whistleblower programs with the hope of silencing those who expose wrongdoing.
However, the numbers do not lie. The incentivized whistleblower programs have successfully supplemented the government’s limited resources, reducing the number of times the government has to choose which of two fraudsters to pursue based on its limited enforcement resources. It can go after both – and recover from both. More and more incentivized whistleblower programs have been adopted over the past fifteen years because they work.
These programs now help the government deter and detect fraud on government programs, the IRS, the SEC, the CFTC, and the NHTSA. It’s even expanding into efforts to target money laundering and the organized criminals who try to wash the money they make selling everything from drugs to weapons to people so they can enjoy a lifestyle most Americans only ever see on television. The end result is worth billions of additional dollars recovered yearly.
Of course, what we cannot quantify in statistics is the deterrent effect each whistleblower case has, and the ways in which their cases make us all safer and more secure in the things we do living our lives every day. Not being able to quantify it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Among countless examples, they’ve helped assure that:
- the pills we take are made and sold according to the strict standards our government has set forth as the Gold Standard for the world;
- our healthcare providers are putting our interest as patients ahead of their potential profits;
- the munitions and protective gear purchased for our collective defense work as they should for our troops who put themselves in harm’s way for us;
- the investments we make to fund our retirements or to buy a new home are accurately described and soundly managed;
- taxes get paid to the government commensurate with obligation so that we all pay our fair share;
- the cars driven on our roads can get us safely from home to work or school and back again;
As we head into another fiscal year for the U.S. government starting October 1, the question can’t be why do we have whistleblower programs. It’s why would anyone oppose a whistleblower program?
This is the second year TAF has produced the “Fraud by the Numbers” blog series. It is an ambitious and righteous project telling a story that needs to be told. It would not be possible without the countless hours of time donated by our Fraud by the Numbers team to research, write, edit and cite-check every post we publish. We simply could not do this without the dedication and hard work of the following individuals:
- Kate Scanlan is one of the founding attorneys of Keller Grover LLP and currently serves as the chair of the TAF Public Education Committee. Kate has exclusively represented plaintiffs for more than 16 years and primarily represents whistleblowers using the Federal False Claims Act and state versions of the FCA to expose fraud on the government. Among other cases, she is currently counsel of record in the matter of United States ex rel. Kathy Ormsby v. Sutter Health and Palo Alto Medical Foundation, alleging that the defendants violated the FCA in their Medicare Advantage program.
- Tony Munter leads the False Claims Act and Whistleblower Reward practice at Price Benowitz, LLP. At Price Benowitz, Tony created a new qui tam practice by advising lawyers – in particular, employment law specialists – on the procedures required to handle False Claims Act cases. With more than 20 years in the practice, he helps those attorneys determine if their clients can pursue whistleblower rewards along with employment law or retaliation cases.
- Regina D. Poserina is Of Counsel at Cohen Milstein and a member of the firm’s Whistleblower/False Claims Act practice. Regina represents whistleblowers in qui tam cases brought throughout the United States under the federal and state False Claims Act statutes against recipients of Government funds. A retired registered nurse, Ms. Poserina focuses predominantly on representing whistleblowers in healthcare fraud, including Medicare/ Medicaid and nursing home fraud. She also has extensive experience in qui tams related to other Governmental programs, including the Department of Defense, Housing and Urban Development, Food Stamp/Department of Agriculture, Small Business Administration, and Department of Education fraud.
- Renée Brooker is a Partner at Tycko & Zavareei LLP. Renée Brooker was a long-time Civil Frauds Assistant Director at the United States Department of Justice, the Office that supervises all False Claims Act cases in all 94 United Stated District Courts. In this leadership role, she was responsible for billions of dollars in recoveries and held companies accountable for their conduct.
- Eva Gunasekera is a Partner at Tycko & Zavareei LLP. Eva was the Senior Counsel for Health Care Fraud at the United States Department of Justice, the Office that supervises all False Claims Act cases in all 94 United States District Courts. In this role, she analyzed complex health care data sets, including Medicare and Medicaid payment data and trends, to identify potentially fraudulent practices in the health care space.
- Julia-Jeane Lighten is the TAF Public Interest Advocacy Fellow for 2022-2023. Julia-Jeane is responsible for undertaking various legal research and writing projects such as drafting bi-weekly legal case summaries and blog posts. Before joining TAF, Julia-Jeane worked as a paralegal at a law firm in Baltimore City, where she assisted with commercial litigation matters. Julia-Jeane earned her Bachelor of Arts in International and Global Studies-Latin America from Middlebury College in May 2020. She plans to attend law school.
- Jillian Estes joined Morgan Verkamp in 2018 as a Senior Attorney. Jillian began her career handling class action cases primarily against for-profit colleges. Since 2010, she has exclusively worked on False Claims Act matters. Jillian was lead counsel on one of the first cases to successfully apply the Stark Statute to Medicaid claims, obtained a favorable first-to-file determination (including successfully defending an appeal to the Third Circuit) for a relator following a $192 million settlement, and represented a relator through post-settlement relator’s share litigation with the United States.
- Molly Knobler is Senior Counsel with the whistleblower law firm Phillips & Cohen LLP. She works exclusively with whistleblowers – pursuing cases under the False Claims Act and under the IRS, SEC, and CFTC whistleblower programs. She has extensive experience representing health care whistleblowers and is proud and grateful to work with such remarkable people. Super Lawyers has repeatedly recognized her as a “Rising Star” and she was included on the 2023 Best Lawyers in America list for qui tam law. She graduated from Stanford Law School with multiple honors. Born and raised (and barred) in California, she is now based in D.C. where she lives with her rugby-loving husband, exuberant toddler, and over-fed dog.
- Mary Inman is a partner from Constantine Cannon’s San Francisco office who is on assignment to the London Office. After 20+ years representing whistleblowers in the U.S., she moved to London in July 2017 to launch the firm’s international whistleblower practice. She specializes in representing whistleblowers from the U.K., E.U. and worldwide under the American whistleblower reward programs. Ms. Inman is a recognized expert and frequent author and speaker on areas related to the international application of the American whistleblower laws, financial frauds, health care reimbursement and government procurement.
- Noah Rich is an Attorney at Law at Baron & Budd. He joined the firm in 2018 and represents clients on a broad range of legal issues at all stages of litigation in state and federal courts across the country. His experience includes civil rights litigation, class actions, regulatory challenges, False Claims Act litigation, and indigent criminal defense. At Baron & Budd, Mr. Rich is a member of our robust Qui Tam practice, specializing in litigation to combat civil fraud under the False Claims Act, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and other federal and state laws.
- Matthew Beddingfield is a Senior Associate at Zerbe, Miller, Fingeret, Frank, Jadav, & Hunziker LLP, where he represents whistleblowers from the claim filing stage to litigation, when necessary. He primarily represents clients filing claims with the IRS Whistleblower Program, but also represents whistleblowers who have filed claims with the SEC, FinCEN, and others. Prior to his current role, Matthew was a legal editor at Bloomberg, where he reported on federal tax matters from cases at the U.S. Tax Court and Supreme Court to legislative updates from Capitol Hill. He graduated from the Duquesne University School of Law, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of Juris, the law school’s primary legal magazine.
- Elizabeth “Liz” Soltan is an associate in Constantine Cannon’s New York Office. She practices in the firm’s whistleblower representation group. Liz is part of the legal team pursuing a qui tam case against UnitedHealth Group alleging the nation’s largest Medicare Advantage Organization for payment to the Medicare Program by improperly inflating its members’ risk scores, a practice known as risk adjustment fraud.
- Charlie Wysong is a Partner at Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd. He counsels and represents clients on a wide range of legal issues, with a focus on civil rights, labor and employment litigation, whistleblower and qui tam claims, education law, and complex business litigation. He actively litigates in state and federal court, including appeals before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Illinois Appellate Court, and Illinois Supreme Court.
- Margaret Truesdale is an Associate at Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd. Ms. Truesdale represents clients in state and federal court in a broad range of complex litigation matters, with a concentration in the areas of civil rights, constitutional litigation, false claims act litigation, and labor and employment. She joined the firm in 2020.
- In addition, we want to thank the interns who helped tremendously with Fraud By The Numbers. From TAF, Alex Cala and from Morgan Verkamp, Colleen Brugger.
- Jeb White is the President and Chief Executive Officer of TAF. He is also the host of the organization’s podcast, Fraud in America. Jeb began his legal career at TAF, where he first served as the Director of Legal Education from 2004-2007 and then as the President and CEO from 2007-2010. Jeb was recognized for growing the TAF community and for leading the efforts resulting in the enactment of various state False Claims Acts and the strengthening of the federal False Claims Act in 2009 and 2010.
- Jacklyn DeMar is the Director of Legal Education of TAF. Jacklyn works with whistleblowers, their counsel, and government attorneys on matters involving the various whistleblower programs. She files amicus curiae brief in federal courts across the country—including the U.S. Supreme Court—and serves as editor-in-chief of TAF’s legal periodical, the False Claims Act & Qui Tam Quarterly Review.
- James King is the TAF Director of Communications and Digital. James directs the organization’s strategic communications strategy and digital content. He also manages the TAF website, social media channels, weekly newsletter, blog, podcast, legal document database, membership database, printing, marketing, and virtual events.
Written by Jeb White of Taxpayers Against Fraud and Kate Scanlan of Keller Grover LLP. Edited by Kate Scanlan of Keller Grover LLP. Fact checked by Julia-Jeane Lighten of Taxpayers Against Fraud.