Taking a stand for whistleblower rights
Taking a stand for qui tam whistleblowers
Taking a stand against corporate fraud
Combating fraud against the government
What It Covers
The Federal False Claims Act and similar state statutes provide significant financial rewards to whistleblowers who expose fraud against government agencies or programs. It relies on private citizens who have information about fraud to start False Claims Act cases. The False Claims Act also makes it illegal to retaliate against whistleblowers.
How It Works
A whistleblower first files a complaint under seal and provides the United States Attorney or the state equivalent with a disclosure statement containing all the information known about the fraud. Then the government investigates the claim and decides whether it will “intervene” in the case. Once that decision is made, either the government litigates the case with varying degrees of involvement by the whistleblower, or the whistleblower may litigate on his or her own if the government does not intervene. The investigation process and litigation can take several years.
In a successful case, whistleblowers (called “relators”) are typically entitled to anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of the amount recovered by the government. This amount can be significant because a defendant found guilty of fraud must pay three times the government’s losses, additional penalties, and attorney’s fees for the case. For example, in a case involving false billing for work on helicopters, the federal government recovered $150 million and the relator received $22.5 million.
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