You gathered your evidence. You picked your attorney. You and that attorney spent weeks—or perhaps months—developing your case and getting your False Claims Act complaint on file. The case is now filed and you are officially and unquestionably a whistleblower. So now what happens?
For many whistleblowers, this is the single hardest part of the process. After months of fast-paced activity, gathering evidence, and talking regularly with your attorney, once the case is on file, that activity will largely stop—at least as far as you will be able to tell. During the month or two after your case is on file, you will likely do an in-person interview at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the district where you filed your case. During that interview, government attorneys and investigators will ask questions and dig a little deeper into your allegations. After that interview, there may be little to no communication from the government for long stretches at a time.
The government may be doing a number of things to advance your case without sharing of lot of details with you or your lawyer. Hopefully state and federal agents are out interviewing potential witnesses and government attorneys are subpoenaing documents. Recently, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices have increasingly utilized Civil Investigation Demands (CIDs) to obtain documents they need or testimony directly from a defendant. Additionally, the government itself often has a “gold mine” of helpful information in the form of claims data. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) often mines and extracts Medicare claims as part of the government’s investigation and often compares the defendant’s submissions with other similar providers to determine whether the Defendant is an “outlier.” In short, while from the outside it may seem like nothing is happening, hopefully the government is busy investigating your case.
Your job as the whistleblower is to lay low and remember not to breach the seal by disclosing the existence of your case. For many, this period is frustrating, but having the patience and will power to ride out the years of investigation that a successful case takes is well worth it.
This post is the last of our six part series, “So You Want to Blow the Whistle?” When read in combination, the series gives a potential whistleblower a good, but very general overview of both the process of becoming a whistleblower and the considerations that go into the decision to move forward.
To learn more about our Whistleblower & Qui Tam practice, click here. This concludes our six-part series “So You Want to Blow the Whistle.”