Whistleblowers who report fraud against the government have a valuable tool in the False Claims Act. The FCA protects whistleblowers from workplace retaliation and allows whistleblowers to share in any recovery.
The False Claims Act was originally enacted during the Civil War, which at that was called the “Lincoln Law.” The FCA and been amendment numerous times and has withstood many constitutional challenges.
Many states have enacted their own False Claims Acts that are very similar the federal FCA. Claims are filed by whistleblower, called “relators,” on behalf of the government. The claims, called “qui tam” lawsuits, are file under seal – meaning in secrete. The claims remain under seal to give the government the opportunity to investigate and decide whether to intervene in the case. If the government intervenes in the case, the government takes the responsibility to prosecute the claim and the whistleblower may receive up to 25% of any recovery.
The False Claims Act imposes treble damages, fines and costs against any company or person who violates the act.
For a whistleblower to be eligible to receive an award, the whistleblower must be the original source of the fraudulent information and also be the first to file a qui tam claim. Just because a whistleblower may have aided or participated in the fraudulent conduct does not disqualify the whistleblower from receiving an award.
If you are considering becoming a whistleblower, contact Miller Law Group for a free consultation, or call 919-348-4361.