Under federal law, whistleblowers who uncover fraud against the government may be entitled to financial rewards. Under the False Claims Act (FCA), individuals with knowledge of fraud can file a lawsuit on behalf of the government and share in any recovery.
The FCA’s whistleblower program is the government’s most powerful tool to defend itself against fraud. This program is responsible for 64% of all successful recoveries by the government. As most fraud would go undetected without the help of whistleblowers, Congress ensured that the FCA included incentives for whistleblowers who assist the government.
In 1986, Congress passed significant amendments to the FCA, increasing these incentives. Congress increased the civil penalties to as much as $10,000 per instance of fraud, which had been left at $2,000 since the Civil War. It also increased the damages from double the fraud amount to triple. The whistleblower’s possible share was also increased, bringing it to between 15 to 30% of the total recovery.
The amendments also went beyond monetary incentives. It also created important protections for whistleblowers. First, the amendment directed that all FCA actions are filed under seal. While the government conducts its investigation, the defendant is not served with the lawsuit and, thus, does not know if an employee has become a whistleblower.
Perhaps the most important whistleblower protection added by the 1986 amendment was 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h). This part of the act created an individual cause of action allowing whistleblowers to recover for workplace retaliation that resulted from their efforts assisting the government.
If you have uncovered fraud against the government contact the whistleblower lawyers at Miller Law Group today for a free and confidential consultation. You can also set up your consultation by calling us at (919) 348-4361. To learn more about whistleblower law, click here.