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Changes to qui tam rules may be forthcoming

If the Securities and Exchange Commission recovers money because of the actions of a whistleblower, that person could be entitled to up to 30 percent of the amount recovered. This is meant to provide incentive for Louisiana residents to speak up when they suspect illegal activity is taking place. However, a new proposed rule would give the SEC more power to either increase or reduce an award as it sees fit.

If the rule were to take effect, it is thought to impact awards of more than $30 million. In cases where a whistleblower would normally be entitled to that much money, the SEC could reduce the award if it didn't believe a person's information was valuable. According to a member of the SEC, the top priority of the program is the whistleblower. Without a monetary reward, the number of people who may point out illegal behavior may be smaller, which could make it harder to discover such activity.

When an individual believes that the government is being defrauded, he or she may bring a lawsuit on behalf of that agency. This is known as a qui tam action, and an individual may be entitled to a portion of any money paid to a federal agency. Those who wish to file such a suit may benefit from doing so with the help of an attorney.

An attorney may be able to gather financial statements or other records that may help verify that an illegal act took place. Legal counsel may also get witness statements and other evidence to help build a case against a defendant. In addition to building a case, a legal professional may also further explain what a qui tam action is and how a person may benefit.

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