One common question is whether and how to report fraud against the government to the FBI. As an initial matter, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the principal investigative arm of the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of Federal crimes. That includes health care fraud (such as Medicare fraud), money laundering, bank fraud, embezzlement, public corruption, environmental crimes, election law violations, and telemarketing fraud. This Article addresses two questions: (1) whether to report fraud to the FBI, and if so (2) how to report fraud to the FBI.
You should Not report fraud to the FBI if you want to receive a reward for reporting fraud against the government
There are several ways to report fraud or crimes to the FBI, but before we provide the contact information, you need to ask yourself if you would want to accept a reward for reporting fraud against the government. Under the main Department of Justice whistleblower reward program, you can only get a reward if you follow their specific reporting and filing requirements, which does NOT include contacting the FBI. In other words, simply reporting fraud to the FBI will not result in a reward no matter how much money the government recovers from your information. In addition, reporting fraud to the FBI does not mean that it will actually open an investigation.
To receive a reward for reporting fraud against the government, such as Medicare fraud, healthcare fraud, military fraud, Homeland Security fraud, grant fraud, or fraud against any federal agency or under any federal government contract or program, you must report fraud in a very specific way and use an attorney to file very specific forms.
Here is a link to an article that explains how to be eligible for a reward for reporting fraud against the government. It explains that you may be entitled to receive up to 25% of the amount the government recovers based upon your whistleblower allegations. But you must strictly follow the reporting and filing requirements, which does not include reporting fraud to the FBI. You should get advice from an experienced attorney that specializes in filing for whistleblower rewards. They take cases on contingency basis, which means their fees are a portion of any reward and therefore should not cost you any out of pocket expenses. Here is a link to an article explaining how to select the right attorney.The author of this Article also has a website and written a book explaining the reward program.
If you want to know the status of any FBI investigation you should not report fraud directly to the FBI, but should file for a reward using an experienced attorney
There are other reasons why reporting fraud directly to the FBI might not be the best way to stop fraud. First, the FBI gets large numbers of reports of fraud by citizens. Therefore, it usually does not respond directly to individuals. Often, tips or reports by individuals are not presented in a convincing way and get buried by the shear number of allegations made by an angry public. That means you may never know if the FBI took your allegations seriously or even opened an investigation.
Second, if you use an attorney to report your allegations, they are taken more seriously. In fact, your attorney is putting his reputation on the line, which is why you want to select an experienced attorney that handles whistleblower cases. Under the DOJ reward program, your attorney actually files a legal filing with the court and the U.S. Department of Justice, and the government must inform your attorney of the status of the investigation and if it opens or closes the case and whether there is any recovery in the case based upon your allegations. In short, even if you are not motivated by a reward, by having an experienced lawyer file for your reward and interact with the DOJ and FBI on your behalf, you will help ensure that an investigation takes place.
If you do not want a whistleblower reward for reporting fraud against the government or do not want to have an attorney report fraud for you, you can report fraud directly to the FBI.
Here are some ways to report crimes to the FBI
There are three ways to report fraud or crimes to the FBI. First, you can fill out an online form and report your allegations directly with the FBI. But most people who do, usually do not get a response or any follow up from the FBI, depending on the allegations, such as how much detail you submit. Remember, FBI agents are busy, so be sure that your allegations make sense and have enough detail to warrant opening an investigation. In addition, if you have an immediate need, you should not attempt contacting the FBI by email or online form, but call the FBI as shown later. Here is the online form to report a crime directly with the FBI:
Submit a tip at: https://tips.fbi.gov.
Second, you can call the FBI. You can obtain the telephone number of a field office by looking in the telephone book or online search by searching for the nearest FBI office, or looking using the following FBI contact page to find the nearest FBI Field Office: https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices. Below is the telephone number for the FBI Headquarters:
Call the FBI Headquarters at: (202) 324-3000.
Third, you can write a letter to the FBI at any of the field offices. You can also write a letter to the FBI Headquarters. Here is the address for the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC:
Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001
Reporting fraud to the FBI depends on your goals
In conclusion, before you report fraud directly to the FBI, you should evaluate your goals and determine if it would be best to consider having an attorney report fraud against the government on your behalf by filing for a reward. Of course, only if there is fraud against a government agency or program are rewards available under the DOJ Reward program. Therefore, you should investigate or consider if your allegations are that someone is cheating or defrauding the government by submitting false claims for payment. If so, you might choose to ask an experienced whistleblower attorney file for a reward on your behalf instead of contacting the FBI yourself. If your allegations are not fraud against the government or do not fit this or another government reward program, then you might choose to contact the FBI by telephone, email or online tip form.