False Claims Act Lawyer

The False Claims Act is a law, that among other things, allows individuals to sue on behalf of the United States and obtain an award upon collection of any damages for fraud committed against the United States. The law was enacted to discover and fight fraud committed against the United States, to prosecute fraud committed against the United States, and to collect money when fraud is committed against the United States.

If you have any interest in filing a suit, the next step is to get in contact with an adept false claims act lawyer. Skilled and experienced lawyers can help you through the process.

Origins

In 1863, during the Lincoln administration, there was a great deal of government contractor fraud committed against the Union Army. The government was sold guns that did not shoot and mules that were dead. All sorts of provisions were made and provided to the Union Army that simply did not do what they were supposed to do.

As a result, the initial False Claims Act was enacted. The False Claims Act went through many procedural amendments and changes as well as legislative changes between 1863 and 1986 when the modern version of the law was enacted and that’s the law – with some amendments – that is in use today. Because of the complexity of false claims law, working with a competent false claims act lawyer will put the whistleblower in a better position as they file their suit.

Even though the history of the False Claims Act does go back to 1863, the modern body of law that generates all of the major cases under the false claims act is relatively new, dating mostly to the Amendments of 1986. This is true, even though the concept of being able to sue on behalf of the government and paying an award to those relators or plaintiffs who bring the cases forward is not new.

Filing

A False Claims Act case must be filed under seal. While that provision is really intended to provide a period of time for the government to investigate any action it may also provide some protection for the individual. While the case is under seal nobody really knows who filed it. This can provide whistleblowers with some period of time before they are identified by anyone. It can provide a crucial period for a whistleblower to obtain new employment at a company, which is not committing the illegal conduct.

Reward Provisions

The reward provisions under False Claims Act allow an individual to collect money when the government collects money either as a result of the settlement or as a result of the judgment in court. The reward is from 15-25% in the event that the case has been intervened and taken over by the United States government, or the reward is from 25-30% if the government declines to intervene in the case and the plaintiff continues on and successfully obtains a judgment or settlement.

Medicare and Medicaid

The most successful False Claims Act cases have involved Medicare and Medicaid fraud. There are at least two reasons for this; one is that Medicare and Medicaid and health care, in general, form a large portion of the government’s budget. The second reason is that the contracting relationship between the government and the people potentially committing fraud under Medicare and Medicaid is different than most government contract situations.

Under Medicare or Medicaid, the government pays for the service, but does not directly receive the service. The government is the third party that pays for the beneficiary’s services and cannot see what is going on between the providers, doctors, and/or the patients. When claims are paid, the government assumes that the claims received are valid.

As a result of this, the government is in a stronger position, when it pursues cases regarding Medicare fraud, they do not have prior knowledge of how the claim may be false. Medicare and Medicaid fraud has been an area of a successful prosecution under the False Claims Act.

Defense contracting is the number two area generating the most successful False Claims Act cases. Large government contracts are created to support the defense of the United States and fraud committed as a result has been the subject of False Claims Act cases. In fact, the False Claims Act was first developed during the Civil War when the Union Army was being defrauded in 1863.

False Claims Cases

A case involving harm to the United States Government is usually most properly filed as a False Claims Act matter. The federal False Claims Act allows an individual to sue on behalf of the United States and obtain an award between 15-30% of what the government recovers. Other than the First Amendment, this is arguably the first major whistleblower law in the United States and it is the law that has provided the foundation for how other whistleblower laws and provisions are enforced.

The False Claims Act includes the anti-retaliation provisions, which allow individuals to sue if they become the subject of retaliation when they identify fraud against the government. False Claims Act case law, has created relatively stringent requirements to make a case successful. Fraud must be pled “with particularity” to survive a court challenge from the defendants.

Cases under this law are initially filed under a unique procedure. First, the case is filed under seal so that the government has an opportunity to investigate any allegations of fraud or misconduct.  Then the government can decide whether or not to “intervene” or take over the litigation.  If the government declines to take this action the whistleblower does have the right to proceed with the action.

Contact an Attorney

Whistleblowing often comes with risks but it also comes with important rights. With the assistance of a determined False Claims Act lawyer, you can work to  protect yourself, and ensure that you case is heard.