The False Claims Act And Whistleblower Rights: Five Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Sometimes referred to as the “Lincoln Law”, the False Claims Act was passed into law with the purpose of giving authorities tools that they need to stop fraud against the government. Notably, the False Claims Act includes strong, powerful protections for whistleblowers. In this article, our Florida IRS whistleblower attorneys answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the False Claims Act.
- What Conduct Violates the False Claims Act?
The False Claims Act (FCA) prohibits fraud against a government agency or government program. In practice, False Claims Act violations come in a wide range of different forms. It could be anything from healthcare billing fraud to defense contractor fraud. If the government was improperly denied funds or defrauded out of receiving funds, that at-fault party may be legally liable for a False Claims Act violation.
- How Does Whistleblowing Work Under the False Claims Act?
The government can initiate False Claims Act cases on its own. However, in general, fraud against a government agency or government program is well-concealed by the perpetrator. Often, it takes a person or group of people with insider knowledge to come forward and stop the fraud. In other words, whistleblowers play a key role in False Claims Act cases.
The False Claim Act allows whistleblowers to file a type of lawsuit called a Qui Tam claim. Through a successful Qui Tam lawsuit, a whistleblower can recover a financial award worth between 15 and 30 percent of the total value of the case. As some government fraud schemes are massive, some Qui Tam whistleblower awards are quite large.
- Do You Have to Be an Employee to Blow the Whistle Under the False Claim Act?
No. While most whistleblower cases are initiated by employees, any person with original knowledge of fraud has the right to file a Qui Tam claim. In fact, some cases have even been filed by independent professionals who have gone over financial reports on their own and recognized serious problems.
- Does the False Claims Act Only Apply to the Federal Government?
The False Claims Act is a federal law that applies to federally funded government agencies. However, many states (more than 2/3rds) have passed similar laws. As an example, the Florida False Claims Act allows whistleblowers to file a lawsuit in the name of the State of Florida to protect the funds of a state or local government agency.
- Does the False Claims Act Protect Whistleblowers Against Retaliation?
Yes. Beyond allowing an employee to seek a financial award through a Qui Tam claim, the False Claims Act also protects whistleblowers against retaliation. If you make disclosures through a False Claims Act attorney, your employer is prohibited from retaliating against you.
Get Help From Our False Claims Act Lawyers Today
At Guttman, Freidin & Celler, our whistleblower attorneys have deep experience handling False Claims Act cases. If you have any specific questions or concerns about the False Claims Act, we are here to help. Contact us today for a fully confidential consultation. With a main office in Miami, we provide nationwide representation in False Claims Act cases.