Whistleblower Statistics Under The Big Four Whistleblower Programs

False Claims Act Statistics

Lawsuits filed under the Federal False Claims Act have recovered more than $72 billion between 1986 and 2022. More than $50 billion of those recoveries have resulted from lawsuits filed by whistleblowers under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act (“FCA”). Whistleblowers have been paid over $7 billion for their role in assisting the government in making those recoveries for taxpayers.

In 2022, there were 948 new FCA lawsuits filed; of which 652 were started by whistleblowers. As in past years, the largest number of new FCA cases involved the healthcare industry. There was, however, an increase in the number of new non-healthcare FCA cases in 2022. This growth is largely due to the increasing number of FCA cases alleging fraud involving pandemic-related relief programs like the Paycheck Protection Program.

Other Whistleblower Programs

While the FCA remains the perennial heavyweight of whistleblower law, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”), Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), and Treasury Department each have their own whistleblower programs. These programs allow whistleblowers to report various forms of individual and corporate misconduct to regulators and obtain awards for such assistance.

While the Treasury’s whistleblower program was just launched, each of the other whistleblower programs were established more than a decade ago. Historical data from these programs is telling. The FCA continues, like clockwork, to payout vast sums to whistleblowers each year, with FCA whistleblowers having been awarded, on average, $431.7 million annually since 2010. But the other programs, particularly the SEC’s highly successful whistleblower program, are quickly catching up. In 2021, for the first time ever, the SEC paid out more in awards to whistleblowers than that provided under the FCA. The FCA took back the crown in 2022. Yet the pattern is unmistakable – the non-FCA programs are largely on the upswing.

Largest Whistleblower Awards by Program

Under each of the four major whistleblower programs, whistleblowers have been awarded nine-figure awards for their respective roles in uncovering corporate malfeasance. While these awards are outliers, they demonstrate the remarkable sums of money that are available to whistleblowers that blow the whistle on egregious misconduct.

SEC:  In 2023, the SEC awarded $279 million to a single whistleblower who reported information related to telecom giant Ericsson’s violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a statute which covers a wide array of foreign bribery practices. Notably, the whistleblower had only blown the whistle after the SEC had already begun to investigate Ericsson’s conduct. This confirms that whistleblower can remain eligible for substantial awards even when the government is already on the trail. The case is also emblematic of the fact that FCPA actions can lead to massive corporate resolutions and attendant whistleblower awards. This is the largest award provided to a single whistleblower under any whistleblower program.

False Claims Act: In 2022, a qui tam whistleblower was awarded $266 million as part of a resolution of his federal and state False Claims Act claims against biotech company Biogen. The whistleblower had alleged that Biogen had engaged in an expansive scheme to pay kickbacks to providers to prescribe Biogen’s products.

CFTC:  In 2021, the CFTC awarded approximately $200 million to a Deutsche Bank whistleblower who provided information to the CFTC related to the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) rigging scandal. Like the Ericsson case, the insider here had blown the whistle after the government had already begun to investigate the defendant’s conduct.

IRS: In 2012, the IRS awarded $102 million to a UBS employee who blew the whistle on offshore tax evasion practices.

The United States Department of Justice publishes detailed statistics each year regarding False Claims Act cases, recoveries, and whistleblower rewards. To view a copy of these statistics about the False Claims Act, please click here.

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