The best known of the whistleblower laws is the False Claims Act. Affectionately referred to as “Lincoln’s Law,” the False Claims Act was originally enacted after the Civil War as a tool to fight war profiteering. Since then, the False Claims Act has been substantially expanded and strengthened over time, and is now the primary legal tool used by the government to protect itself from fraud.
Under the False Claims Act, it is unlawful for a company or individual to commit fraud in connection with a claim for payment from the government, or to cause another to submit a false claim for payment. In plain terms, it is illegal to lie for the purpose of getting money from the government, or from a government program.
The False Claims Act has a qui tam whistleblower provision. This means that a private citizen with information about fraud on a government program can hire a False Claims Act attorney to bring a lawsuit, in the name of the government, blowing the whistle on the company that is committing the fraud. This type of whistleblower lawsuit is known as a qui tam lawsuit. If money is then recovered as a result of the qui tam lawsuit, the False Claims Act whistleblower is entitled to an award of between 15% and 30% of the amount recovered. For example, if a qui tam lawsuit results in a total recovery of $10 million, the qui tam whistleblower receives an award of between $1.5 million and $3 million.
In recent years, the majority of False Claims Act whistleblower cases have involved fraud on government-funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare fraud and Medicaid fraud. Some of these cases have resulted in settlements of hundreds-of-millions, or in some cases billions, of dollars. But the False Claims Act is not limited to healthcare fraud cases. The Act covers almost any type of fraud on government agencies or programs (with the notable exception of tax fraud, which is covered by a different legal scheme). Some examples of types of fraud that have been subject to qui tam lawsuits include:
Qui tam lawsuits under the False Claims Act are subject to a unique set of legal and procedural requirements. If these requirements are not followed, then the False Claims Act whistleblower may forfeit his or her right to receive an award under the qui tam provisions. If you are considering blowing the whistle on fraud on a government agency or program, you may want to review our law firm’s False Claims Act FAQ, which provides answers to questions we are often asked by our clients.
You may also wish to seek legal advice about your rights, and the steps you should take to preserve your ability to bring a qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act. The law firm of Tycko & Zavareei LLP works on the cutting edge of the whistleblower revolution, and understands the complex issues that qui tam whistleblowers face. Our qui tam attorneys are available for free, no-commitment initial consultations. To start that process, complete our Case Evaluation Form, or call us at (202) 973-0900.
The purpose of this form is to provide basic information that our law firm will use to evaluate your potential qui tam case. We will treat all information you provide through this form as privileged and confidential. If you have any concerns about providing your information through this website, please feel free to call our Washington, D.C. office at (202) 973-0900 to provide your information by telephone, or send your information to our office at 1828 L Street, N.W., Suite 808, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Please note that, in general, we only handle cases in which a business or company has committed fraud on the government and the amount of the fraud is at least $1 million.Begin Your Confidential Case Evalutation