The False Claims Act allows private parties -- often the employees of companies that contract with the government -- to file lawsuits on the government's behalf. When these whistleblowers have evidence of fraud, waste or abuse in a government contract, they can sue to help the government reclaim the money. In exchange for their service, the whistleblowers receive between 15 and 30 percent of the total recovery as a reward.
The Department of Justice has accused Lockheed Martin Corporation, certain affiliated companies, and at least one executive of making false claims against the government and accepting kickbacks in regard to a multibillion-dollar contract. The contract was to clean up a nuclear site in Hanford, Washington.
"Businessmen and companies that lie to get their hands on taxpayer money will be held accountable for their actions," said a U.S. Attorney. "When some people cheat, those who play by the rules are put at a disadvantage."
"Patients and taxpayers rightly should expect that referrals be based on sound medical judgement, not driven by thinly veiled bribes, as alleged here," said a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.
Between 2006 and 2017, according to the Justice Department, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., billed Medicare, Medicaid and other government healthcare programs for hundreds of thousands of insulin pens that it knowingly dispensed to people who did not need them. The nationwide pharmacy has agreed to pay $209.2 million to settle the government's claims.
In December, the New York Attorney General's Office and the state tax commissioner reached a record-breaking settlement with Sprint and several subsidiaries. A whistleblower filed a lawsuit under the state's false claims act, which allows private citizens to file lawsuits on behalf of the government when they notice fraud, waste or abuse in state contracting.
If you work for an organization that contracts with the federal government, you may have observed questionable or even fraudulent activity. Did you know you could earn a substantial reward by blowing the whistle on fraud, waste or abuse of a federal contract or program? The reward could be between 15 and 30 percent of any money recovered on behalf of the government.
"By bringing allegations of fraud to light, whistleblowers play an important role in protecting the integrity of our healthcare system," says the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
In the 2018 fiscal year, the U.S. Department of Justice recovered billions of dollars on behalf of the federal government from cases involving the False Claims Act. This law holds both individuals and companies responsible for defrauding and taking money from the federal government. In addition to the government seeking to cover its losses from various types of fraudulent actions, a claimant filing under the False Claims Act, whether from New York or another state, may be able to seek a portion of what is recovered.
The False Claims Act invites private-citizen whistleblowers to file lawsuits against companies that they believe are engaging in fraud, waste or abuse in government contracting. When these lawsuits are successful, the whistleblower can receive a substantial portion of the money recovered as a reward for their service. Sometimes, the federal government intervenes in these lawsuits, which does not affect the whistleblower's rights but sometimes improves the lawsuit's chances for success.