The main concern of most people who consider “blowing the whistle” on wrongdoing is confidentiality. Potential whistleblowers want to report fraud, but they also fear that doing the right thing may have negative unintended consequences. These are valid concerns, as those who defraud the federal government are usually quite capable of retaliating against employees who attempt to report their unscrupulous behavior. In fact, the False Claims Act recognizes this by containing provisions that are specifically designed to protect whistleblowers against retaliation. Still, despite these protections, many whistleblowers wish to remain anonymous in an abundance of caution. Although complete anonymity isn’t usually possible, below is an overview of methods that whistleblowers can use to bolster their privacy when reporting under the False Claims Act.
Filing Under a Pseudonym
One possible way of filing a False Claims Act claim anonymously is by using a pseudonym. However, most courts are very strict when it comes to permitting a party to file in this manner. Thus, this option isn’t available to most whistleblowers.
The False Claims Act’s Seal Provision
Although the False Claims Act doesn’t contain provisions for filing anonymously, all initial filings are filed under seal, which means that they are shielded from public view. The seal remains in place for 60 days, but this can be extended if the government has a good reason for the extension. Many cases remain under seal for over a year. At some point, however, the seal is lifted, meaning that the anonymity of the whistleblower is eventually lost.
Filing as an Organization
An additional way to file a False Claims Act claim anonymously is to file as an organization. When a whistleblower files as an organization, the names of the owners of the organization are shielded from public view. However, filing as an organization presents its own unique challenges for whistleblowers. In fact, many False Claims Act cases that would have prevailed if filed in the name of an individual have been dismissed when filed in the name of an organization. In addition, the filer’s name in a False Claims Act case must be disclosed to government prosecutors, and his or her name will eventually likely be made public if the case proceeds to litigation.
Contact a False Claim Act Attorney Today
If you have information about fraud against the federal government that you’d like to report, please contact a False Claims Act attorney as soon as possible. And although you may wish to remain anonymous, whistleblowers who report fraud under the False Claims Act may be entitled to significant financial compensation, and many people ultimately decide that this is worth forfeiting their anonymity. Therefore, if you have information that may help the government recover funds that were fraudulently obtained, please contact our False Claims Act attorney as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance of financial compensation.