STRONG ADVOCATES FOR WHISTLEBLOWERS
For many years, our attorneys have represented clients in pursuing claims under the nation’s major “whistleblower” laws: the federal and state False Claims Acts (known as qui tam cases), the SEC Whistleblower and CFTC Whistleblower Programs, and the IRS Whistleblower Program. We have been at the forefront of each of these major whistleblower programs.
Our partner and head of our whistleblower practice Michael A. Sullivan has been litigating False Claims Act cases for decades—starting only two years after the United States enacted the modern False Claims Act statute in 1986. The False Claims Act is one of the most effective tools to combat fraud that affects public funds. The federal False Claims Act allows private citizen whistleblowers (known as “relators”) to file suit on behalf of the United States government in certain circumstances when the government has been defrauded. The “qui tam” provisions of the False Claims Act allow whistleblowers to share in the recovery of damages.
Mr. Sullivan has worked with the False Claims Act since the late 1980s and has both defended and prosecuted cases under the False Claims Act. He has represented physicians and other medical professionals, accountants, business executives, financial professionals, and other persons who seek to expose and stop fraud and other violations.
Most states have enacted their own false claims acts to protect public funds and to reward whistleblowers for helping promote integrity. Mr. Sullivan helped draft Georgia’s False Medicaid Claims Act in 2007, and its Taxpayer Protection False Claims Act in 2012. He was asked by legislators to testify and explain each law.
Our whistleblower practice has expanded with the 2006 changes in the law to include the new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Whistleblower Program. Finch McCranie was one of the first law firms to represent individuals who wanted to expose tax evasion, tax fraud and other related tax violations.
More recently, Congress consulted our partner Mr. Sullivan in 2010 as it wrote the new whistleblower laws for securities and commodities whistleblowers. Mr. Sullivan also met with the Chairmen and commissioners of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) when they began developing their own whistleblower programs. “Whistleblower” provisions have been and continue to be very effective and successful tools in combating false claims and fraud against the government.
In 2017, Finch McCranie added as counsel two former senior Department of Justice attorneys with decades of combined experience in successfully pursuing cases under the False Claims Act. Renée Brooker’s nearly 19 year career at the Justice Department included serving as a lead counsel in the pharmaceutical pricing fraud (Average Wholesale Price) litigation that led to hundreds of millions of dollars in recoveries. She was the architect of the financial fraud cases under the Justice Department’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which led to the recovery of billions of dollars and admissions of wrongdoing from financial institutions. Ms. Brooker also was a lead trial lawyer in the successful 9 month civil RICO trial against the tobacco industry for misleading the American public for decades about the harmful effects of smoking. She had direct oversight for investigations, litigation, and trials involving the health care, pharmaceutical, defense, financial services, cigarette manufacturer, and higher education industries.
In Eva Gunasekera’s career at the Justice Department, she rose quickly and was promoted to chair the Civil Division’s health care fraud practice as Senior Counsel. She was a lead trial counsel on a several-month health care fraud trial, the most complex False Claims Act trial in recent history. Ms. Gunasekera has extensive experience investigating, litigating, and resolving cases involving pharmaceutical manufacturers, health care providers, durable equipment manufacturers, physician groups, managed care providers, pharmacies, hospice and nursing home providers, government suppliers, and defense contractors. Many of her matters involved parallel criminal proceedings.
The attorneys at Finch McCranie are uniquely situated to handle whistleblower cases. We have the experience of preparing and prosecuting fraud cases as both former federal prosecutors and as private attorneys. In addition, based on our unique background in criminal and civil cases, we have organized programs for other attorneys to share our knowledge of these programs as well as to discuss how to minimize potential civil and criminal liability for whistleblowers. Our attorneys also comment on and analyze recent developments through our blog: Whistleblower Lawyer Blog.
Below is a list of the types of whistleblower cases we handle for clients: