President Abraham Lincoln enacted the False Claims Act during the Civil War when bullets were filled with sawdust instead of gunpowder, the government received sand instead of sugar, and horses arrived decrepit or blind. Regrettably, fraud against the Government is still a pervasive problem and extends widely across industries. Employees, including managers and executives, are often in a position to identify situations where an entity is defrauding the Government. Understanding the ins and outs of the False Claims Act and its qui tam and retaliation provisions may provide those who observe fraud against the government a way to stop the conduct.
Fraud against the government is nothing new. It’s an age-old problem dating back to the Civil War era when contractors supplied the army with broken guns, sand-packed bullets, lame pack mules, cardboard boots and more. President Lincoln asked Congress for a law setting severe financial penalties those who engaged in the practice. Today, the False Claims Act (FCA) —also known as the original Whistleblower Law—is still a viable way to protect the United States government and people who “blow the whistle” on fraudulent activity. Someone claiming fraud, also known as a relator, can sue a company for its illegal action. If the lawsuit is successful, relators receive a percentage of what the Government recovers.
Halunen Law attorneys have brought FCA cases on behalf of relators across the county. In this video, Halunen Law Founder and Managing Partner Clayton Halunen discusses the law in more detail. If you’re aware of fraudulent activity against the government, the team at Halunen Law is there to help.
Video link: reellawyers.com
Forged Under Civil War Fire, The False Claims Act Continues To Serve As Basis For Private Citizens To Blow The Whistle On Would-Be Fraudsters Of The Government Trust
Under a little-known law, private citizens with knowledge of fraud against the government can bring a lawsuit against the offending organization. Called the False Claims Act, the law—often called the original Whistleblower Law — originated in the Civil War era, when rampant fraud against the U.S. government threatened the very existence of the country.
Sickened by the spectacle of contractors supplying the army with broken guns and sand-packed bullets, lame pack mules and cardboard boots, President Lincoln pressed Congress for a law setting severe financial penalties for fraud against the government. The law also included a provision to empower private citizens to sue fraud perpetrators on behalf of the government. Known by its Latin name as “qui tam,” this provision allows the courts to award whistleblowers, called “relators” under this law, a share of the monies recovered by the government in fraud cases. In Lincoln’s time, the law brought corrupt defense contractors to heel. Today it serves to protect taxpayers against fraud from contractors in any number of industries. Equally important, the law protects individuals, like the Civil War soldiers fighting with inferior equipment, who suffered injury as a result of the fraud. Many states, including Minnesota, have adopted whistleblower laws to protect against fraud against state agencies.
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