Washington, DC Whistleblower Lawyer
Whistleblower cases refer to the reporting of misconduct or illegal activities within a government agency or private organization. The False Claims Act permits any person who knows about misconduct committed against the government to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the government.
Known as a whistleblower or qui tam lawsuit, these claims allow the person who initiates the suit (the whistleblower) to be paid a significant portion of the funds recovered if the lawsuit is successful.
The False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. § 3729-3733) covers different types of fraud, including:
- Making false statements for the purpose of receiving payment
- Seeking payment from the government for services that were not performed
- Overbilling the government
- Making false claims to Medicare
- Making records to back up false statements
- Taking money or property intended for the government
- Purchasing government property from someone not authorized to sell it
- Conspiring to commit any of the acts above
Under the False Claims Act, any person is permitted to bring legal action on behalf of the government. Because you are expected to prove your claim in court, it is recommended that whistleblowers only pursue legal recourse if he or she can produce evidence, or knows of evidence that can prove the claim. Employees often bring this type of action against their employee because they are in an ideal position to witness fraud.
What the False Claims Act Guarantees
The False Claims Act guarantees confidentiality, because the complaint is filed under seal and remains under seal for at least 60 days. The claim also protects from retaliation by your employer. If you are threatened, harassed, discharged, suspended, or demoted in response to your whistleblower lawsuit, you are entitled to “all relief necessary” to make you “whole,” which may include reinstatement at a former position, up to two times back pay, and damages.
The False Claims Act also states that the whistleblower will be awarded between 15 – 25% of the amount recovered if the federal government accepts the case. There is no limit to this award. Some notable whistleblower cases have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for the government, leading to tens of millions of dollars in cash awards to individual whistleblowers.
Fraud Has a Harmful Ripple Effect on Everyone
With the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bank bailout and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, commonly known as the 2009 Stimulus Act), the U.S. government committed to the largest payouts to private companies in history. The rationale was that all American citizens would ultimately benefit, but fraud can diminish the country’s collective gains from these payments.
From Naval maintenance operations to genetic research to tax fraud committed by a business, numerous projects in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC are funded by government money and / or commit fraud. If you are aware of any fraud being committed against the government, our legal team is prepared to help you file a whistleblower lawsuit.