A Whistleblower’s Legal Journey, Part I: To Be, or Not to Be, a Whistleblower, That Is the Question

On Behalf of | May 24, 2024 | Whistleblower Law

By Shaun Rosenthal and Danya Rangachar

The Background & Impact of Fraud & Deceptive Practices

The Office of Inspector General estimates that the United States loses between $233 to $521 billion each year due to fraud.[1] In 2023, the Department of Justice recovered over $2.6 billion in fraud under the False Claims Act.[2] You read that right: There may be over $200 to $500 billion of fraud each year where the fraudsters get off scot-free.

Moreover, government fraud is just one of many ways that perpetrators can swindle money. There is investor, derivative, and tax fraud. Companies launder money, bribe foreign officials, and launch products into the market with serious safety defects. As technology advances, the avenues to cheat and gain an unfair advantage simply expand.

This blog series is devoted to the people who bravely stand up against wrongdoing. These people are the “Whistleblowers.”

Since ancient times, whistleblowing has been regarded as a benefit to society. The term “parrhesia” in ancient Greek means “to speak freely”, not just without fear, but also with an obligation to do so for the common good.[3]

The Tough Decision Whether Or Not To Be A Whistleblower

In today’s world, would-be whistleblowers may be hesitant to speak out because they fear retaliation, do not know who to tell, or do not know whether the conduct they see arises to the level of fraud. Sometimes, the decision to not be a whistleblower is the right decision. But we want people to make an informed choice.

Accordingly, we are starting a series—A Whistleblower’s Legal Journey—where we will detail the various questions whistleblowers will typically face in their fight for justice. Based on our experience as whistleblower attorneys, our aim is to offer an informed, insider’s perspective on the practice of whistleblowing.

We also want to hear from you. If you have a question that you want us to cover, please fill out our online intake form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

[1] GAO-24-105833, Fraud Risk Management: 2018-2022 Data Show Federal Government Loses an Estimated $233 Billion to $521 Billion Annually to Fraud, Based on Various Risk Environments, GAO (Apr. 16, 2024), https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-24-105833

[2] Press Release, False Claims Act Settlements and Judgments Exceed $2.68 Billion in Fiscal Year 2023, DOJ (Feb. 22, 2024), https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/false-claims-act-settlements-and-judgments-exceed-268-billion-fiscal-year-2023

[3] Ian Foxley, An Ancient Virtue, Index on Censorship vol. 50 n. 2, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/03064220211033791