The False Claims Act allows people who are aware that fraud was committed against the government to sue on behalf of the government to recover stolen money and recoup the government’s losses.
From 2005 to 2013, the federal government paid nearly $2 billion in rewards to whistleblowers.
Whistleblowers share in a percentage of money recovered
If a recovery is obtained in a qui tam lawsuit, whistleblowers are typically entitled to 15-30% of the recovery. Because the False Claims Act allows for up to three times the amount of damages, or government losses, as well as civil penalties of up to $11,000 for each false claim, recoveries can be substantial. In 2012 alone, federal and state False Claims Act cases recovered $9 billion for the government. From 2005 to 2013, the federal government paid nearly $2 billion in rewards to whistleblowers.
Speak privately with a qui tam lawyer
Do you have information about fraud against the government? Is your employer or a competitor company defrauding the government? Speak to one of our qui tam attorneys for a free, confidential consultation about your potential whistleblower case by calling toll-free (800) 254-9493 or filling out the form.
Employees protected from retaliation
Whistleblower laws protect employees from being harassed, demoted, terminated, or discriminated against by their employer because they exposed fraud being committed by their employers. Under the False Claims Act, employees who are retaliated against are legally entitled to relief, including getting their job back, receiving back-pay with interest, and receiving compensation for any retaliation-related damages.
Fraud as defined by the False Claims Act
Under the False Claims Act, companies, agencies, and government contractors commit fraud against the government by any of the following actions:
- Presenting a false or fraudulent claim for payment to the government;
- Using a false record or statement to get a claim paid by the government;
- Conspiring with others to get a false or fraudulent claim paid by the government;
- Using a false record or statement to avoid or decrease an obligation to pay the government.
Examples of conduct that courts have deemed fraudulent include:
- Healthcare Fraud
Medical providers billing for services which were never provided; Upcoding Medicare or Medicaid claims. Upcoding occurs when a provider misrepresents services performed as more expensive types of service than those actually performed; or when a provider misrepresents patients’ diagnoses in order to increase the provider’s reimbursement.
- Pharmaceutical fraud
Pharmaceutical companies marketing drugs for off-label use, or uses which have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration; Paying physicians kickbacks, or incentives, for promoting or prescribing certain drugs and medical devices.
- Kickback schemes
Pharmaceutical companies or medical providers providing payments to medical providers in exchange for patient referrals, or for using certain medical drugs or suppliers.
- Selling defective or substandard products to the government
Pharmaceutical and medical device companied failing to adhere to FDA good manufacturing standards; Selling defective equipment to the government.
- Government contractor fraud
Building contractors, medical contractors, or military contractors claiming their companies are minority owned when they are not. Minority-owned companies are those in which more than 51% of the assets are owned by members of ethnic monitory groups; Falsifying data on product pricing; Failing to follow agreed-upon regulations.
Who are False Claims Act whistleblowers?
Typically, whistleblowers are current or former employees of companies that are committing fraud against the government. Some of the most successful whistleblowers have been current and former pharmaceutical sales representatives, since they are the persons most likely to have knowledge of off-label marketing and kickback schemes by pharmaceutical companies. In some cases, whistleblowers are competitors of companies that are committing fraud. Patients have also been successful in certain qui tam cases brought.