Here are some top recent whistleblower awards:
1. UBS: $104 million; September 2012 The IRS award to Bradley Birkenfeld made him the most richly rewarded whistleblower to date. Birkenfeld, however, paid a price. He spent 40 months in prison for his own complicity in the tax fraud he said his former employer UBS had perpetrated.
2. Pfizer: $102 million; September 2009 A group of 10 for Pfizer employees, including original whistleblower John Kopchinski, were awarded $102 million for having exposed the illegal promotion of the arthritis drug Bextra, according to the American Lawyer.
3. HCA: $100 million; December 2000 Two whistleblowers shared a $100 million reward, after they told the FBI that the healthcare provider was regularly overbilling Medicare. Their tips led to government raids of 35 HCA locations in 1997, and to HCA's payment of a landmark fine.
4. GlaxoSmithKline: $94 million; July 2012 The probe of what the American Lawyer calls the biggest health care fraud settlement in history began in 2003 with whistleblowing complaints filed by Cheryl Eckard, who alleged manufacturing faults at one of Glaxo's plants. Glaxo, without admitting wrongdoing, agreed to pay fines to settle civil allegations.
5. Abbott Laboratories: $84 million; August 2012 As reported by the American Lawyer, whistleblowers stand to receive some $84 million under the False Claims Act in a settlement by Abbott concerning off-label promotions of its anti-seizure drug Depakote.
6. Bank of America: $25 million; March 2012 BofA in February agreed to pay fines to settle a federal probe of alleged underwriting and mortgage fraud involving subsidiary Countrywide Financial. A suit by whistleblower Kyle Lagow helped spark the investigation, and Lagow was awarded $14.5 million, according to Reuters.
7. Tenet: $8.1 million; January 2004 Two whistleblowers responsible for having told the FBI they believed physicians at a Tenet hospital in Redding, Calif., were performing unnecessary cardiac procedures, shared a reward of $8.1 million, their percentage of a $54 million settlement—a record amount for a fraud allegation involving a single hospital, according to Modern Healthcare. Tenet did not admit any wrongdoing.