How Federal False Claims Act Cases Work
The federal budget is nearly $4 trillion per year. A large percentage of this huge outlay is payment and reimbursement for goods and services. The government has systems in place to prevent fraudulent claims, but these systems are hardly foolproof. This is why the government relies on individuals (formally called “relators” but often just called “whistleblowers”) to come forward with evidence of fraud. Cases filed by whistleblowers have a much higher success rate than cases filed solely by the government. The government’s policy and laws mandating sharing rewards with whistleblowers is a major factor in this success.
The False Claims Act is the government’s most powerful tool in combating waste, fraud, and abuse. It came into existence during the Civil War to quash procurement fraud by the many vendors eager for government money — thus its early identification as “Lincoln’s Law.” The law was substantially overhauled in 1985.
What Happens When You File A Qui Tam Case?
A qui tam case begins with a complaint filed by the whistleblower in a U.S. District Court. The whistleblower is asking the federal government to intervene, and prosecutors must evaluate the evidence to make this decision.
Copies are also filed with the local United States attorney and the U.S. Attorney General. Defendants named in the complaint are not informed about it; nor is information made available to the public. The majority of jurisdictions only allow these cases to be brought by attorneys acting on their client’s behalf. The cases cannot be brought by individuals without representation.
Our work as your representative is intensive during this period. We at Fischer Legal Group know the Federal False Claims Act process and are familiar with its many requirements. We will ensure that you have standing to file the complaint. To prevent confusion and “piling on,” the government only allows the first whistleblower to file a complaint in a given case to share in the damages.
What Is The Scope Of The Rewards You May Receive?
Defendants convicted of False Claims Act violations must pay back three times the amount of losses by the government due to the fraud. In addition, the courts may levy civil penalties between $11,181 and $22,363 per fraudulent claim.
Violations of the FCA can result in other negative consequences, including disqualification from future federal and state government contracts.
The rewards for whistleblowers in the conviction are significant. Relators are awarded a share of 15 to 30 percent of government recovery. Every case has its own complexities, which may affect your total reward. We at Fischer Legal Group will give you the information necessary to estimate your total compensation for reporting the crime.
Effective Whistleblower Representation
This is not a simple part of the law by any means. Call the lawyers at Fischer Legal Group at 212-577-9231 or email us to arrange an initial consultation to fully understand the dimensions of your case.