Feds up rewards to curb corporate fraud

LYNCHBURG, Va., Jan. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The government reached an important landmark by topping $2 billion in rewards paid to citizens for reporting fraud. The average whistleblower reward was $1.5 million. The largest reward exceeded $100 million.

Last year, the government spent more than $2.5 trillion dollars. Under many of its programs it is losing 10% to corporate fraud, with the total amount of fraud exceeding $150 billion each year. In response, Congress authorized the Department of Justice to create the Whistleblower Reward Program and pay up to 25% of what it collects against cheating companies as rewards to private citizens who report fraud.

Without the help of whistleblowers, the government catches only 1% of corporations who defraud more than 20 government agencies, like the military, the post office, Medicare, and Homeland Security. Under the reward program, the Department of Justice has already recovered $12.5 billion. Whistleblowers are now responsible for one-half of all recoveries for fraud against the government.

There is no limit to the amount of rewards paid and there is no cap to the dollar amount paid to an individual. The reward is a formula based upon the size of the fraud case you report.

Recently, the IRS adopted its own whistleblower reward program. It hopes to be able to start paying billions of dollars in rewards because it estimates that companies are evading taxes by over $300 billion each year.

There is a new book that walks you step-by-step through the process of determining if you are eligible for a reward and how to properly file your application. It is named Whistleblowing, A Guide to Government Reward Programs: How to Collect Millions of Dollars for Reporting Fraud, and is available at your favorite bookstore. The author, Joel Hesch , worked for 15 years as an attorney in the Fraud Division of the Department of Justice helping administer the National Whistleblower Reward Program. He is now a legal professor at Liberty University School of Law. His website offers free information and up-to-the-minute updates on reward programs at www.HowToReportFraud.com.