The False Claims Act (FCA) is our most powerful weapon against fraud. The FCA allows whistleblowers who uncover fraud against the government to bring a civil lawsuit on behalf of the government. Over the last 30 years, the government recovered $56 billion of public assets. Of this recovery, over $40 billion came from private lawsuits from whistleblowers, who sounded the alarm under the FCA.
If you have uncovered fraud against the government, here are three important aspects of the FCA that you should know:
- Whistleblowers are entitled to a share of any recovery
Whistleblowers who file FCA actions on behalf of the government receive a share of any recovery or settlement. Under the Act, total damages are calculated as three times the amount of fraud—commonly referred to as treble damages—plus civil penalties of $5,000 to $10,000 for each instance of fraud. 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a). If the government intervenes, the whistleblower is eligible to receive 15 to 25 percent of any recovery. § 3730(d)(1). If the government does not intervene, whistleblowers can receive a higher percent of the recovery, between 25 to 30 percent. The exact amount of the whistleblower’s share is determined by the value of the information that they disclosed to the government.
- Whistleblowers are protected from retaliation
The FCA provides whistleblowers a separate cause of action if their employer retaliates against them for sounding the alarm. § 3730(h). This is especially important because most whistleblowers uncover fraud that is being committed by their employer. Under § 3730(h), the whistleblower is “entitled to all relief necessary to make [the whistleblower] whole.” These protections can remedy an array of retaliatory actions, including discharge, demotion, suspension, threats, harassment, or any other type of discrimination in the terms and conditions of employment. Id. Possible relief includes reinstatement, two times the amount of back pay, interest on back pay, attorneys’ fees, and court costs. § 3730(h)(2).
- Whistleblowers’ attorneys represent them, not the government
Although FCA whistleblowers are suing on behalf of the government to recoup public monies, a whistleblower’s attorney represents them, not the government. This is a critical distinction. While the whistleblower and the government share a common goal, their interests can also diverge. This is often the case if the whistleblower was involved in the fraud. The whistleblower’s attorney can help protect the whistleblower’s personal interests, while the whistleblower works with the government for mutual benefit.
If you have uncovered fraud against the government, contact the whistleblower attorneys at Miller Law Group today for a free consultation. Our team can help you navigate the complexities of whistleblower law.
Do I need to hire an attorney for my whistleblower claim?
Stages of Whistleblower Litigation: The Relator Interview