Attacking Fraud Under the False Claims Act
Under the False Claims Act, individuals or entities that come forward to report fraud against government programs may be entitled to compensation and protections. Whistleblowers, also called Relators, can bring legal claims under a provision of the Act known as the Qui Tam provision. The government has a right to join Qui Tam actions. However, if the government decides not to intervene, the whistleblower may proceed on her own pursuant to the protections of the Act.
The rationale behind the Qui Tam provision of the False Claims Act is that the government lacks the ability to gather information needed to pursue every person engaging in waste, fraud, or abuse of government programs. The Act has proven to be an effective mechanism for the government to identify fraud that otherwise would have gone undetected. As a matter of fact, the federal whistleblower program has proved so effective that many states have passed similar laws concerning fraud in state government contracts.
Who Can File a Qui Tam Action?
Any individual or entity with evidence of fraud against the government, or abuse of government contracting can file an action. However, if another individual (or the government) has already filed a lawsuit under the False Claims Act predicated on the same facts, you may be barred from filing suit.
Common Whistleblower Scenarios
The most common False Claims Act cases are health care related. Heath care fraud and abuse claims also tend to have the largest settlements for the whistleblower. Other major areas for False Claims Act litigation include the following:
- Abuse of defense contracts
- Abuse of energy contracts
- Abuse of government construction contracts
- Abuse of government housing contracts
- Natural disaster remediation contracts
- Government procurement
- Government procurement
- Using false records to get a claim paid by the federal government
- Using false records to decrease an obligation to pay money or transmit property to the federal government
Since the late 1980s, around $25 billion has been recovered by Whistleblowers under the False Claims Act. Anyone who defrauds the government or otherwise violates the False Claims Act is liable for three times the dollar amount that the government has been defrauded. In addition, violators can be held liable for penalties of up to $10,000 for each fraudulent claim.
Individuals who bring Qui Tam suits are eligible to recover between 15 and 30 percent of the total recovery amount.
Why You Need an Experienced Whistleblower Lawyer
The False Claims Act is complicated legislation. Anyone who pursues a claim incorrectly may be barred from later filing a competent suit. If you suspect that you may have evidence of government fraud or abuse of procurement, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer immediately.
Like most legal claims, False Claims Act cases are subject to a statute of limitations. Claims must be filed within a certain statutorily specified period, or litigants are forever barred from bringing their claim. Whistleblowers have six years from the date of the violation of the Act to file, or three years after the government knows or should have known of the violation. No claim can be filed under the Act more than 10 years after the initial violation.
Pennsylvania Whistleblower Lawyers at Williams Cedar Represent Plaintiffs in Qui Tam Actions
If you believe you have evidence of government fraud or contract abuse, the experienced Pennsylvania whistleblower lawyers at Williams Cedar can help you file a Qui Tam claim. With offices located in both Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients nationwide. Call us today at 215-557-0099 or contact us online for a free consultation.