Ask the legal expert: How can I tell if my boss is embezzling?

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Attorney John Durso, Ungaretti & Harris LLP
Attorney John Durso, Ungaretti & Harris LLP
Q: I suspect my supervisor, who hired me and really runs the place, of embezzling on an ongoing basis. How can I safely proceed if I'm not 100% sure? If I'm 100% sure?

A: Generally speaking, there is some legal protection for “whistleblower” individuals who are willing to ferret out fraud in their organization.

The precise answer to your question, however, depends on a number of variables, including: (1) the precise nature of the activities your supervisor is engaged in, (2) your state's laws regarding wrongful termination or discharge, (3) your position within the organization, and (4) the course of action you feel comfortable with taking.

“Whistleblower” protections vary widely from state to state. Before proceeding with any course of action, it would be wise to consult with an attorney to ensure that you would be protected from any retaliation from your employer or supervisor.

In order to encourage this type of reporting activity, the federal government and many states have enacted various forms of whistleblower protection laws.

Perhaps the best-known vehicle for whistleblower action is the Federal False Claims Act. This law prohibits federal contractors (for example, a long-term care facility that receives payments from Medicare or Medicaid) from submitting false or fraudulent claims for payment to the government.

The government incentivizes individuals to “blow the whistle” by allowing them to share in up to 30% of any successful recovery, and recover any previous job title or position that  might have been lost via retaliation

An employee also could be entitled to back pay, interest on pay lost and compensation for other special damages.

Please send your legal questions to John Durso at ltcnews@mcknights.com.

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