The U.S. government loses approximately 10% of its federal budget to fraud annually. Individuals, corporations, and government contractors who fraudulently accept federal funds erode public confidence in government-funded programs and initiatives, squander taxpayer dollars, and harm vulnerable populations by diverting federal funds away from intended beneficiaries.
In order to mitigate these losses, Congress enacted the False Claims Act, also referred to as the whistleblower law.
Under the False Claims Act, a whistleblower with information about government fraud can file a qui tam lawsuit on the government’s behalf and earn up to 30% of the money the government recovers.
Government recoveries can be substantial. Corporations or individuals convicted of government fraud are liable for three times the government’s losses, or treble damages, in addition to civil penalties ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 for each false claim submitted to the government.
Want to report government fraud?
If you have information about a medical provider or institution committing government fraud, know your rights and protections as a whistleblower. For a free and confidential consultation with an experienced whistleblower attorney, please contact us at 1-800-254-9493 or by filling out the form to the right.
Our lawyers are committed to protecting whistleblowers’ rights and recovering money that was fraudulently taken from the government. Our law firm works with whistleblowers on a contingency basis, which means there is no payment unless funds are recovered and the whistleblower is paid a reward.
Fraud Under the False Claims Act
Fraud against the government is prominent in the healthcare sector and typically involves pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies, and government-funded healthcare programs such as Medicare, Mediciad, and Tricare. Building contractors, medical contractors, and military contractors working under government contracts may also be implicated in False Claims Act cases.
Examples of conduct that courts have deemed fraudulent under the FCA include:
- Using a false record or statement to avoid or decrease a payment obligation to the government
- Using a false record or statement to get a claim paid by the government
- Providing substandard products and services to the government or in federally funded programs
- Making claims to the government for services not rendered
- Using false information to secure a government contract
How Qui Tam Lawsuits Work
Filing a qui tam lawsuit triggers a government investigation and a 60-day time period during which the government reviews the case and decides whether or not to pursue it. The government pursues about 20% of whistleblower cases.
If the government chooses to pursue a whistleblower case, the Department of Justice will litigate the claims with the help of the whistleblower, or qui tam relator, and his or her attorneys.
If the government declines to pursue a whistleblower case, the whistleblower may continue prosecuting the case with his or her attorney.
Whistleblower Rewards: 15-30% of the Government's Recovery
In 2014 alone, the government recovered nearly $3 billion from successful qui tam cases; whistleblowers were awarded $435 million.
Whistleblower awards are available whether the government chooses to pursue a case or not, and serve as financial incentive for citizens with information about fraud to come forward. Even whistleblowers who participated in the fraud may be eligible for a whistleblower reward, so long as they did not plan or initiate the fraud.
If a whistleblower case is successful, the whistleblower may receive a maximum of 30% of the government’s recovery.
False Claims Act Whistleblower Protection
The False Claims Act contains provisions for qui tam whistleblower protection, including the protection of employees who are harassed, demoted, discharged, or discriminated against as a result of their decision to report fraud. Such employees may be eligible for reinstatement and up to two times the amount of wages lost as a result of the employer’s discrimination.
False Claims Act cases are initially filed under seal and remain confidential until they are made publicly available. Investigations into whistleblower allegations by private whistleblower lawyers and the federal government are conducted without informing the company or the individuals involved.
Girard Gibbs' Whistleblower Experience
Girard Gibbs’ whistleblower lawyers have more than two decades of experience prosecuting fraud. Our attorneys have successfully litigated against some of the largest companies in the United States, and we have recovered more than a billion dollars on our clients’ behalf. We have fought some of the most complex cases brought under federal and state laws nationwide, and our attorneys have been recognized with numerous awards and honors for their accomplishments, including Top 100 Super Lawyers in Northern California and The Best Lawyers in America, and rated AV Preeminent (among the highest class of attorneys for professional ethics and legal skills).
We proudly hold memberships in Taxpayers Against Fraud, a public interest organization dedicated to combating fraud against the government and protecting public resources. Our whistleblower lawyers support the non-profit’s educational initiatives and efforts to advance public and government support for qui tam whistleblower cases.