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Types of Whistleblower Cases

Government Programs Fraud

Blowing the Whistle on Government Programs Fraud as a False Claims Act Whistleblower

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 Affectionately referred to as “Lincoln’s Law,” the False Claims Act was originally enacted after the Civil War as a tool to fight war profiteering.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:

  • Healthcare Fraud
  • Defense Contractor Fraud
  • Federal Student Loan Fraud
  • GSA Fraud
  • Federal Crop Insurance Fraud
  • Government Construction Fraud
  • Customs and Shipping Fraud
  • Federal Loan Fraud
  • Government Grant Fraud
  • U.S. Postal Service Fraud

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.

Contact Your False Claims Act Attorney

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.