While the U.S. Senate recently passed a resolution designating July 30, 2016, as National Whistleblower Appreciation Day, Virginia already recognizes the importance and value that whistleblowers play in identifying fraud, waste, and corruption in state government.
July 30 coincides with the date in 1778 when the Continental Congress unanimously passed the first whistleblower law. The Senate resolution, introduced on June 30, acknowledges the duty of citizens to inform the proper authorities “of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors by any officers or persons” in state service “which may come to their knowledge.”
The commonwealth’s Whistle Blower Protection Act, first implemented in 2009, shields from retaliation citizensand state employees who report allegations of fraud, waste, or corruption in executive-branch state agencies to the Office of the State Inspector General (OSIG).
Virginians who report allegations to OSIG can help strengthen government and may be rewarded for their efforts. While the Whistle Blower Protection Act shields those who make a report against retaliation, the Fraud and Abuse Whistle Blower Reward Fund provides a way to compensate citizens for reporting allegations leading to the recovery of assets. A toll-free call to (800) 723-1615 provides a way to report wrongdoings.
The Whistle Blower Protection Act protects those who make “good faith reports” of occurrences of fraud, waste or corruption committed by state agencies or independent contractors of state agencies. A good faith report is one made truthfully and in good conscience, without ill intent or malice, and with supportive evidence that a wrongdoing, fraud, or abuse has occurred.
The Fraud and Abuse Whistle Blower Reward Fund may provide compensation to any citizen or employee who discloses information that leads to a recovery of at least $5,000. The reward may be up to 10 percent of the actual sum recovered from the disclosure of the wrongdoing or abuse.
Individuals who wish to remain anonymous may report information through the State Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline instead. Individuals should know that anonymity and confidentiality are not guaranteed when filing a claim under the Fraud and Abuse Whistle Blower Reward Fund.
Making a good faith report is easy and can be done by contacting OSIG in one of four ways:
- Calling (800) 723-1615 (toll-free within Virginia)
- Sending a fax to (804) 371-0165
- Sending an email with subject line “Whistle Blower Program” to [email protected]
- Mailing correspondence via the United States Postal Service to the Office of the State Inspector General, Attention: Whistle Blower Program, Post Office Box 1151, Richmond, VA 23218
Additional information about the Whistle Blower Protection Act is available on the OSIG website (osig.virginia.gov/) by going to the Program Areas section and clicking on Citizen Services.