Did you notice fraudulent transactions in your organization or any other organization? It’s acceptable to take it upon yourself to report any fraudulent transactions by becoming a whistleblower.
A whistleblower anonymously reports fraud, unethical or illegal activity within organizations to their employers, the press, or a CFTC whistleblower lawyer.
- Becoming a Whistleblower
The CFTC whistleblower program offers whistleblowers a reward for reports on violations of the Commodity Exchange Act, anonymity, anti-retaliation protection, and confidentiality. When you notice illegal activities in an organization, regardless of whether you work there, you're allowed to report the illegalities to any of the above mentioned authorities.
As a whistleblower, you should be aware of these three whistleblower laws surrounding the following agencies:
- False Claim Acts (FCA)
This is also referred to as qui tam. This law allows individuals to file a lawsuit against an organization on behalf of the U.S. government. They get to benefit from any settlements given after the case.
- Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC)
This law prohibits dishonesty on a publicly-traded company's financial report, insider trading, and non-compliance with the federal security laws. The whistleblower must volunteer original information resulting in a SEC action, and they are eligible to receive between 10-30% in claims.
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Whistleblowers are paid by the IRS when they report organizations that evade paying taxes.
Top Five Whistleblower Frauds
Fraud commonly takes place in public offices or in organizations that receive government funding. As a CFTC whistleblower, you should be aware of the following popular fraud categories:
- Healthcare Fraud- a program designed to help vulnerable individuals like senior citizens or the disabled. The healthcare providers take advantage and overbill for services offered. In other cases, the hospital administers less effective or more dangerous treatments to get higher reimbursements.
- Pharmaceuticals Fraud- commonly carried out by marketing drugs to push doctors to prescribe the medication, manufacture and sell defective medicines, and manipulate drug prices.
- Tax Evasion Fraud- an organization might reduce the amount of tax they owe the government through misrepresentation of the organizations or individual income or intentionally failing to file tax returns.
- Government and Defense Contractor Fraud- private companies, contracted by the justice department and, in return, overcharge for the service, under-deliver and supply defective products.
- Procurement Fraud – occurs when a government-contracted contractor hired by the government overcharges the government, under-delivers on the service provided, or delivers damaged goods.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Whistleblowing
Before pulling the plug and deciding to blow the whistle on your company or another company, you should probably consider the implications that might come with it. We have compiled a list of pros and cons to help you decide.
- It is the right thing to do.
- Your identity is safe since you can make an anonymous tip.
- You stand to gain a financial reward.
- You might lose your job.
- You might jeopardize your work relationship with your colleagues.
Dangers of Whistleblowing
- You might lose your job or be pressured into quitting.
- As the whistleblower, you may be bullied or isolated in the workplace.
- You may receive a negative performance review from your employer.
- Whistleblowers may be portrayed as mentally ill by the employer.
- Whistleblowers in the military may be charged with espionage.
- Some whistleblowers who lack strong will might break down due to the pressure and get depressed or become addicts.
As a CFTC Whistleblower with good intentions, you help serve a higher purpose with a guilt-free conscience. On the other hand, whistleblowing with malicious intent or selfish gains might cause more damage than good. Get your facts right, use your better judgment, and weigh out your options and all the possible outcomes.