False Claims Act
The False Claims Act is a federal law that imposes liability on persons and companies that defraud the government. The law includes a "qui tam" provision that allows whistleblowers, called "relators," to help the government stop many kinds of fraud and to collect a substantial financial award for doing so. The reward will typically be between fifteen to thirty percent of the recovered damages. To be eligible to a reward, though, the relator must file a lawsuit.
Most of these cases involve healthcare fraud, situations in which a defendant, whether it be a physician, hospital, or other medical provider overcharges the government (through Medicare) the costs of goods or services or doesn't provide the goods or services for which the government is billed. The False Claims Act is not, however, healthcare specific. It applies across the board to government overpayments, and defendants who violate the False Claims Act may have to pay up to three times the amount of the government's losses, plus penalties for each false claim that they submitted.
Qui tam cases generally involve complex questions of law and a dense factual history. Claims may involve tens of thousands of pages of documents and extensive investigation.
If you'd like to learn more about our False Claims Act practice, please contact us for a confidential consultation.