Whistleblowers who report fraud on the government under the False Claims Act, or who report violations of securities, commodities or tax laws pursuant to the respective Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Whistleblower Programs, are potentially entitled to monetary whistleblower rewards. Whistleblower rewards are typically a percentage of the government’s recovery and can be substantial:
- Since 1986, whistleblowers have been awarded nearly $4 billion under the False Claims Act, with $439 million in awards in fiscal year 2012.
- The IRS paid whistleblowers a record $125 million in 2012.
- The SEC paid its first award under the SEC Whistleblower Program in August 2012 and awarded the maximum percentage allowed by law to the whistleblower (30% of the recovery).
Whistleblower Recoveries Are Soaring
The chart below reflects the total dollar amount of whistleblowers’ share of awards under the federal False Claims Act for years 1995-2012. As you can see, whistleblowers have been awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in each of the past few years for exposing fraud on the federal government under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.