June 12th, 2019
For many years, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has worked hard to encourage companies to cooperate during an investigation after a False Claims Act case has been filed. While some companies have taken initiatives to make whistleblowers more comfortable about stepping forward, many still choose the path of obstruction and retaliation instead. The DOJ recently released new guidelines to encourage further cooperation from defendants.
Cooperation Defined According to the DOJ
DOJ’s policy provides incentives for the following types of cooperation:
- Voluntary disclosure about a potential False Claims Act violation
- Sharing information learned during an investigation into the claim on an internal level
- Implementing new compliance programs within the company to handle reports
- Offering insight beyond what the DOJ is already investigating
- Taking remedial measures as soon as the investigation is opened
- Disclosing misconduct that the DOJ suspects or is outside of what is already suspected
Notably, an informed whistleblower can often help a company with each of these steps, by providing a roadmap to aspects of the misconduct that it might otherwise take investigators significant time to discover and understand
Rewards for Cooperation
In exchange for cooperation, the guidelines provide that the defendant could get credit in the form of reductions in damages multipliers used to determine settlements or reduced civil penalties. If there are administrative overseers involved, the DOJ will work to inform those overseers of the company’s willingness to cooperate so it can be considered if further action has to be taken through those administrations.
Companies who get credit for their cooperation can rebound from a False Claims Act violation more quickly and see less damage to their reputation. If you would like to know more about whistleblowers, the False Claims Act, or ways defendants can cooperate with the DOJ, explore The Whistleblower website for more information. You can also contact me using my confidential website form or by calling 207-747-7639 for a free, confidential discussion.