rene-bohmer-430927-unsplash-copy-200x300One common concern that holds people back from becoming whistleblowers is the fear that they will face discipline for being involved in the same fraud they are now reporting. Sometimes employees feel coerced by their employer into partaking in fraudulent actions, and other times the employee may have been the one to spearhead the fraud. In both cases, if you have had a change of heart, and not only do you no longer wish to participate in the fraud, but you want to put an end to it altogether, contact the qui tam attorneys at Willoughby Brod today to learn more about what steps you should take next.

When You Participated in the Fraud but Did Not Spearhead it

Both the False Claims Act (FCA) and the California False Claims Act (CFCA) want to afford whistleblowers the maximum protection possible so as not to deter people from coming forth as a whistleblower. Therefore, in most circumstances, a whistleblower who partook in the fraudulent act they are now reporting will not face any penalties for participating in the fraud.

hans-reniers-746177-unsplash-copy-300x200One common category of healthcare fraud schemes in the medical laboratory industry revolves around medically unnecessary testing. There are many different ways in which the medical laboratory industry fraudulently commits medically unnecessary testing, which are highlighted below. If you believe you have witnessed healthcare fraud involving medically unnecessary testing, contact the healthcare fraud attorneys at Willoughby Brod to learn more about what you should do next.

What is Medically Unnecessary Testing?

Medically unnecessary testing occurs when clinical laboratories order tests that are excessive, unnecessary, or inappropriate for a patient’s treatment. Not only can this be extremely costly, it can also be dangerous to a patient’s life.

samuel-zeller-360588-copy-200x300Though similar in purpose, the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) and Stark Law have many differences that are often overlooked or ignored by the general public. If you believe you have witnessed a form of healthcare fraud but are unsure whether the fraudulent act was a violation of the AKS or Stark Law, contact one of the experienced AKS and Stark Law attorneys at Willoughby Brod today for your free case review.

What is the Anti-Kickback Statute?

The AKS provides that physicians and hospitals are not permitted to refer patients to other healthcare providers in exchange for something of value, whether in cash or another form. The purpose of this statute is to ensure that referrals are genuine and based on merit rather than based on familial or professional networks.

ken-treloar-385255-copy-300x200Even though the Anti-Kickback Statute is a federal criminal statute that results in serious penalties when violated, it is also one that physicians and healthcare professionals violate on a regular basis. If you believe you were referred to a physician or other healthcare provider as part of a monetary or other valuable exchange, you may have witnessed an Anti-Kickback Law violation. However, there are certain “safe harbors” that protect physician payment plans that would otherwise constitute a violation under the Anti-Kickback Statute. If you are unsure whether your physician’s payment plan falls into one of the safe harbors, contact the attorneys at Willoughby Brod to get your questions answered.

What is the Anti-Kickback Law?

The Anti-Kickback Statute says that physicians and hospitals are not permitted to refer patients to other healthcare providers in exchange for something of value, whether that is cash or something else. The purpose of this statute is to ensure that referrals are genuine and based on merit rather than based on familial or professional networks.

dylan-nolte-576808-unsplash-copy-300x200Whistleblowers are one of the most misunderstood groups of people out there. From an outsider’s perspective, it can be difficult to understand why someone would want to be a whistleblower – and that is the first problem. Whistleblowers hardly ever choose to become whistleblowers. They happen to encounter situations that, in their mind, call for a solution that will promote justice and better society. If any of the myths below resonate with you, read on to find out why it is a myth, and what the truth really is.

Myth #1: Whistleblowers are disloyal.

Oftentimes, whistleblowers are referred to as “snitches” and disloyal employees, but quite the opposite is true. Whistleblowers are oftentimes the most loyal employees at a company.

benjamin-child-90768-300x200Reporting your boss for engaging in unlawful conduct at work not only requires courage but also thick skin. While some will undoubtedly tout you as a hero as soon as you blow the whistle, others may not be as friendly or supportive. You should prepare yourself for the worst, from your employer as well as from the public, should you decide to blow the whistle on your employer. Despite the risks of whistleblowing outlined below, however, remember that you are contributing to justice and ultimately contributing positively to society when you report illegal conduct. If you are unsure, nervous, or scared about how best to proceed, speak with one of the lawyers at Willoughby Brod, and they will be able to help you decide what is best for you.

Employer Retaliation

The biggest risk of whistleblowing is employer retaliation. California law prohibits any form of employer retaliation toward whistleblowers, but many employers try to do it anyway. Many think that if they do it in subtle ways, like slowly pushing the employee out of their role or finding another reason to demote them or decrease their pay, that there will be no consequences to them. From an even less straightforward angle, employers and fellow employees may start to become hostile toward the employee, spreading rumors about the employee, scheduling meetings only when the employee is unavailable, or ignoring the employee in social settings. However, this type of behavior is illegal. If you have been retaliated against by your employer, contact our attorneys immediately so that we can help you fight for your rights.

max-bender-262783-unsplash-copy-300x199As we do with almost everything in life, we weigh the risks against the rewards when deciding whether or not to blow the whistle on a company that we catch engaging in criminal acts. It can be easy to let our fears overtake us and prevent us from reporting crimes against the False Claims Act (FCA) or the California False Claims Act (CFCA), but there are many other factors to consider when weighing the pros and cons of whistleblowing. If you believe you have witnessed corporate fraud in violation of the FCA or CFCA, contact an experienced California whistleblower attorney immediately (time is of the essence in whistleblower cases) to learn more about the pros and cons to whistleblowing in your particular case.

Pros of Whistleblowing

  • You will finally be heard. If you witness fraud in your workplace, there is usually no sense in reporting the fraud to your employer. First, your employer is likely the one behind the fraud, so reporting it to your employer will only make things worse for you. Second, if you work for a large corporation or government, pushing through the bureaucracy to get your voice heard might be a bigger feat than you are prepared to take on alone. With a whistleblower attorney on your side, your voice will be heard and acted upon.

hannah-olinger-549280-unsplash-copy-200x300If you are considering filing a whistleblower case in California, you are probably wondering what the process looks like and how long it will take. Unfortunately there is not a clear-cut answer to how long a whistleblower case can take, as there are so many factors that can influence the length of the case. While the steps below are a general outline of the life of a whistleblower case, the only way to get a clear picture of what your case will look like and how long it will take is to consult with an experienced whistleblower attorney in your area.

Step 1: File the whistleblower complaint.

The first step is to file your whistleblower complaint. In order to file a successful whistleblower complaint, you want to have gathered as much evidence as possible. Once you gather all the evidence you can gather, it typically will take your attorney several months to pull together all the information and formulate a convincing whistleblower complaint. However, the length of time it takes for your attorney to draft your complaint depends on the following factors:

kristina-flour-185592-unsplash-copy-300x192One of the most crucial parts of filing a whistleblower or qui tam lawsuit is evidence gathering. The more evidence you have of the fraud you are alleging, the stronger your case is and the more likely the government is to intervene. However, gathering evidence is not always as easy as it sounds. Sometimes there are crucial pieces of evidence needed in your case that you do not already have but that you have the potential to obtain. In this situation, you will want to make sure you go about collecting evidence in a lawful and ethical fashion. After all, the last thing you want is to break the law while you are reporting someone else for breaking the law.

Stay Quiet

The most important piece of advice is to stay quiet. Do not talk about the fraud you are alleging with your co-workers, friends, or family. Even though it is illegal for employers in California to retaliate against whistleblowers, plenty of employers do it anyway. Not only is losing your job during this time damaging to your personal life, but it is damaging to your case, as well. Without the access you previously had to the company, it will be nearly impossible for you to continue gathering evidence to support your claim.

joe-perales-117891-copy-300x198In general, if you want to file a lawsuit against another person or entity, you have the option of going at it alone (pro se) or hiring an attorney to represent you. While pursuing a lawsuit pro se may not be the wisest in all situations, some people still choose to go that route because it is more cost effective and they do not have to give away a portion of their winnings to their attorney. With qui tam lawsuits, however, it is almost impossible to go at it without an attorney because of how complex qui tam lawsuits are. Here are a few ways in which an experienced qui tam attorney can help you have a successful qui tam case.

Government Intervention

The most important thing you will want to achieve early on in your qui tam case is to get the government to intervene, as your case has a much higher chance of success that way. Our attorneys specialize in qui tam cases in which the government intervenes, and we will do our best to persuade the government to intervene in your case. After practicing qui tam cases for years, our attorneys have become well acquainted with government qui tam attorneys and how to communicate efficiently and effectively with them.