The Who, What, Why, and How
While traditionally thought of as company insiders, whistleblowers come in many forms and from a variety of backgrounds. Their one unifying characteristic is they see something that is not right and want it to stop. Whistleblowers can be insiders, competitors, clients, or even just enterprising citizens. If you see fraud, you can stop it by blowing the whistle.
Whistleblowing is the act of alerting law enforcement of the fraud. The government understands there can be many negative consequences to whistleblowing and so has set up certain formal channels to alert the government and provide for a financial incentive if the government ultimately recovers.
While there are financial incentives to whistleblowing, the ultimate motivation for most whistleblowers is doing the right thing. They see fraud; they see the people who are being hurt; and they want that fraud to stop and the fraudsters to never do it again. Whistleblowing is not an easy decision. Whistleblowers can often face retaliation and other negative consequences, which is why there are financial incentives and numerous protections available.
While each program is different — some require an attorney and some do not — you only have one opportunity to make a first impression with the government. You want a seasoned eye who can refine your message, highlight the important details, and present the fraud in a way that will be heard. And you want someone who knows the people you want to listen.