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Does The Government Really Pay Awards To Whistleblowers?

Our whistleblower clients often ask us whether the government really pays the types of awards promised by the False Claims Act to qui tam whistleblowers.  The answer is “yes.”

According to the most recent statistics released by the Department of Justice, which covers 1987 through 2012, the federal government has paid more than $3.8 billion dollars to qui tam whistleblowers. The amounts have also gone up significantly in recent years.  According to those DOJ statistics, almost $1 billion in awards have been paid to qui tam whistleblowers under the False Claims Act in just the past two years.

In addition to the qui tam awards paid by the federal government, almost half of the states now also have qui tam provisions in their state False Claims Acts.  And some of the largest qui tam cases in recent years have involved claims under those state False Claims Acts.  Each year, multiple cases result in awards of $1 million or higher for qui tam whistleblowers.

And those are just the statistics for claims brought under federal and state False Claims Act.  The SEC and IRS whistleblower programs also provide for similar awards to whistleblowers. The SEC whistleblower program was created by Congress to provide monetary incentives for individuals to come forward and report federal securities fraud. Under that program, whistleblowers are entitled to a monetary award of between 10% and 30% of the total amount collected. The IRS whistleblower program pays money to whistleblowers who report persons who fail to pay the taxes that they owe. If the IRS uses information provided by the whistleblower, it can award the whistleblower up to 30 percent of the total amount it collects.

But actually getting your case to the award stage is not easy or quick.  The False Claims Act has numerous technical hurdles that can trip up a qui tam whistleblower, and prevent that whistleblower from receiving an award at the end of the case.  Accordingly, to claim your rewards, it’s important to have experienced qui tam lawyers on your side.

If you have information concerning a potential qui tam case, do not hesitate to take action. It is possible that you might be able to bring your own whistleblower lawsuit under the False Claims Act. When filing your lawsuit, be sure to consult with a qui tam attorney, who will protect your rights and help you gain your share of any monetary reward from a possible settlement. If you would like to consult with a False Claims Act attorney, please fill out our Confidential Case Evaluation form, or call (202) 973-0900 to speak with a lawyer at the law firm of Tycko & Zavareei LLP.