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What can motivate a whistleblower?

While national news headlines focus on divisive politics and ineptness, fraud against the federal government remains a pervasive problem. In fact, healthcare based FCA cases have garnered quite a bit of interest from federal officials in the past few years. Since 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice has recovered more than $24 billion in funds from providers, with a majority coming as settlements (and verdicts) based on fraud perpetrated through federal health care programs. Additionally, the Justice Department announced that healthcare related FCA cases would be reviewed by the Criminal Division for prosecution.

But arguably, many of these cases would not have been commenced but for a whistleblower; a person with knowledge of potential wrongdoing (and the courage) to expose fraudulent dealings. This naturally begs the question: what made them do it? There may be a number of reasons behind it, and this post will explore some of them.

Resentment in the workplace – It may go without saying that some employees are not paid what they are worth. But some employees may be downright exploited by their employers. When a low-level worker or a mid-level manager sees executives reveling in perks while they are essentially paupers, resentment can grow.

Fired for promoting change - Resentment may also grow when a person is chastised for identifying waste or is silenced when trying to change a lazy culture. Blowing the whistle provides an opportunity for redemption.

Financial rewards – Most of all, earning a stake in what is recovered is a reason employees participate in FCA cases.  They can realize at least 15 percent of any settlement or jury award the government wins. 

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