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Washington DC Qui Tam Attorneys
Becoming a whistleblower by filing a qui tam lawsuit to report fraud against the government is an important public service, helping stop fraudulent practices and recover stolen taxpayer dollars. Therefore, in order to help encourage people to report fraud against the government, the False Claims Act provides for generous whistleblower rewards in successful qui tam lawsuits in addition to whistleblower protection from retaliation.
Whistleblower Reward Percentage and Government Intervention
In a qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act, defendants who are found guilty are liable to repay up to triple the amount of the fraud, plus additional fines. The whistleblower, or relator, is entitled to between 15% and 30% of the recovered amount, which can reach into the millions of dollars. The exact percentage the whistleblower receives usually depends on whether the Justice Department decides to join the case and the importance of the whistleblower’s evidence in securing recovery of money to the U.S. Goverment.
If the government’s attorneys do intervene in your whistleblower lawsuit, your probability of success is much greater, and whistleblower reward is limited to 15% to 25%. If you decide to continue your qui tam claim after the Department of Justice declines to intervene, however, you may be able to collect up to 30% of the recovered amount. Whether the government joins your qui tam claim or not, the whistleblower attorneys of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. will help you negotiate for the maximum possible whistleblower reward percentage after the successful conclusion of your whistleblower lawsuit.
While the False Claims Act sets a statutory minimum whistleblower reward of 15%, not every whistleblower is actually entitled to this amount. In fact, if a whistleblower is actually convicted of a criminal act related to the fraud he reports, he is entitled to nothing at all. In addition, if a whistleblower is found to have “planned or initiated” the fraud or bases their case on readily available public information may also receive much less than 15%.
The False Claims Act empowers the court to hold convicted qui tam defendants liable for three the amount of the loss to the government in false claims, as well as additional penalties between $5,500 and $11,000 per claim. The government, however, may choose to settle a qui tam case for much less than the maximum penalty, generally taking between two and three times its losses without imposing criminal fines. If the government settles a whistleblower case, the whistleblower’s reward percentage relates to the amount of the settlement reached, not the statutory maximum.
Over all successful qui tam cases, the US Department of Justice reports that whistleblower rewards averaged about 16% of the total recovery between 1986 and 2008.
If you have specific knowledge of fraudulent or false claims against the government, please contact the qui tam attorneys of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. today for a confidential evaluation protected by attorney-client privilege.