The attorneys at The Employment Law Group® law firm are experienced in representing whistleblowers in federal court and, more relevant in the context of a FIAFEA claim, in discussions with the Department of Justice. Litigation under FIAFEA differs from what most people think when contemplating a lawsuit against their employer. Under FIAFEA, the individual presents their matter to the DoJ which will then investigate and determine whether or not to prosecute the alleged violator.
Our firm has worked closely with the DoJ in a number of matters involving mortgage fraud, contracting fraud, and loan fraud. We take every effort possible to maintain the confidentiality of our clients. As such, we cannot disclose much of the work that we have performed and are currently performing in this area. Suffice to say, we have represented employees from all walks of life – including high level executives, physicians, traders, salespeople, and a host of others.
A whistleblower who discloses information under FIAFEA is eligible to receive twenty to thirty percent of any recovery up to the first $1,000,000 recovered, 10 percent to 20 percent of the next $4,000,000 recovered, and 5 percent to 10 percent of the next $5,000,000 recovered. In brief, if you help the government stop the fraud, you may be entitled to a share of the recovery.
As with all legal claims, deadlines are crucial. As with all legal claims, deadlines are crucial. The statute of limitations for frauds prosecuted under FIAFEA is 10 years “from the date the cause of action accrues.” This means that, if you are aware of a fraud – even if it is in the reasonably distant past – it may still be actionable under FIAFEA. That being said, we urge our clients not to delay in bringing forth their claims. Documents can be lost, witnesses can forget, and the DoJ may lose interest if a whistleblower sits on his or her claim for too long.
Frequently Asked Questions
What reward does FIAFEA offer to whistleblowers for reporting violations of financial fraud laws?
A whistleblower who discloses information under FIAFEA is eligible to receive twenty to thirty percent of any recovery up to the first $1,000,000 recovered, 10 percent to 20 percent of the next $4,000,000 recovered, and 5 percent to 10 percent of the next $5,000,000 recovered.
What sort of fraudulent practices are covered by FIAFEA?
Generally speaking, FIAFEA prohibits fraud involving the financial services industry. Typically, this means that when a company has made false statements to a federally insured bank, they have engaged in a violation of FIAFEA. That said, the statute also addresses broader misconduct under the umbrella of “mail fraud” and “wire fraud.” In its broadest sense, if the company has intentionally misled individuals or banking institutions through the mail – whether traditional or electronic – the company may have engaged in actionable misconduct under FIAFEA.
If I know about fraud, what are the steps to disclosing my concerns to the government?
The first step is to contact an attorney. Not only can you rely on an attorney to make sure that your matter is reviewed, you will need assistance in drafting your declaration in a way that conforms with that which the DoJ desires. From there, you will work with an attorney to draft a declaration. These are typically shorter than the complaints one would see under a False Claims Act action and are designed to provide the government with enough notice to initiate its investigation. In addition, you will need to gather all of the relevant documentation that you have in your possession to help illustrate the fraud.
Am I protected from retaliation if I disclose concerns about bank fraud?
A whistleblower who has a “reasonable belief that the information [(s)he] is providing relates to a possible securities law violation” is entitled to protections. In addition to statutory protections, many jurisdictions provide for common law claims under their wrongful termination body of law.