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Blowing The Whistle On Fraud On State Or Local Governments

At the federal level, the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act have been in effect since the 1980s.  But more recently, many states have started to pass their own state-level False Claims Acts, which provide incentives for qui tam whistleblowers to come forward with information about fraud on their state and/or local governments. These statutes are similar to the federal law, but they govern fraud on a smaller scale, in the state and local government arena.

In fact, there are now approximately 30 states that have some form of their own False Claims Acts, including some of the biggest states in the country, such as New York, California, Texas, Florida and Illinois. Most state False Claims Acts also have anti-retaliation provisions built into them, which are designed to protect a qui tam whistleblower against retaliation by his or her employer. Under these provisions, an employer is not allowed to fire, demote, suspend, threaten, harass or otherwise discriminate against an employee for bringing a qui tam case under the state False Claims Act. If the employer violates this prohibition, the employee can sue the employer for damages (such as lost wages) and other relief.

The False Claims Act laws do vary from state-to-state. In some states, the laws only cover healthcare fraud, and can even get as specific as only covering fraud on the state Medicaid system. In other states, the laws can be more general, and can cover all types of fraud on state and local governments, including fraud by government contractors or, in a few states, tax fraud.

Particularly in the realm of healthcare fraud, companies will often be committing the same fraud on both the state and federal governments, and so qui tam whistleblower cases can be brought under both sets of False Claims Act laws.

If you have information about fraud on a state or local government, you should consult with an experienced qui tam attorney, who is equipped to handle these types of cases.  He or she will be able to advise you about whether your state has a False Claims Act, and whether or not it covers the particular conduct you are trying to report.

Here at Tycko & Zavareei LLP, our attorneys are experienced in handling these types of intricate cases. We are well-equipped to protect your rights as a qui tam whistleblower, and will fight on your behalf to help you gain your share of any monetary reward from a possible settlement. If you would like to consult with one of our qui tam attorneys about a potential fraud case concerning your state or local government, please fill out our Confidential Case Evaluation form, or call (202) 973-0900 to speak with a lawyer.