"I never intended to be a whistleblower," says Grove. "All I ever tried to do was give this company the best advice possible."
And apparently he did. As director of internal audits for the Minneapolis based healthcare provider, Allina, Grove's job reviews were excellent. That is until 1994, when he says he uncovered evidence Allina had overbilled Medicare and Medicaid by $19 million.
Grove says not only did the company disregard his calls to repay the government, but he was demoted.
"I was removed from my job in auditing," he says. "I had been there for 20 years and was taken out of that department and put on unassigned status for the next six months."
Afraid he could be accused of taking part in a cover-up, Grove filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Allina and for several years led what he calls a double life working for the company by day, talking to federal investigators after hours. His diabetes worsened and worry kept him awake nights.
Grove says the toll the ordeal has taken on him has been "tremendous."
"You wonder, 'Did I do the right thing? What's the company going to do to me? Are they going to fire me?'"
Watchdog organizations says such concerns are justified. Big companies say they expect honesty and integrity from employees, but often punish the people who blow the whistle on wrongdoers.
"Unfortunately, most corporations don't provide a good environment where whistleblowers feel comfortable coming forward. And when they do come forward, they have the stigma of being a 'snitch,'" says Tom Golden, a forensic auditor with Price Waterhouse.
Allina now says it has "systems in place to allow employees to address issues related to ethical business conduct." The healthcare giant appears to have resolved its problems with a $16 million settlement, of which Scott Grove gets $1 million.
Yet, he says, "I don't think most people would say it was probably worth it."
His accounting career in a shambles and Scott Grove believes the price for speaking up may have been too high.
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