The Federal False Claims Act (“FCA”) is the primary weapon in combating fraud against the federal government. The FCA covers fraudulent claims made against any federal agency, program, contract, or grant. Many states have similar laws to protect themselves against fraud. Under the FCA, whistleblowers are permitted to bring a case on behalf of the federal government to recover damages on its behalf.
How are Whistleblowers Incentivized?
The FCA incentivizes whistleblowers to report fraud by offering a percentage of any reward recovered from an ensuing lawsuit, generally in the range of 15-25%. Under the Federal False Claims Act, the reporting individual is known as the “relator.” The government has the option to either step in and litigate, or decline the case. If the government declines to proceed, the relator may continue on behalf of the government. If the relator succeeds, they are entitled to a larger percentage of the recovery (25-30%).
Why is a Qui Tam Lawyer Important in Federal False Claims Act Lawsuits?
The FCA is a very complex area of the law with a number of unique provisions that an unexperienced attorney may overlook or misinterpret. It is important to find a whistleblower qui tam law firm with extensive knowledge and experience litigating FCA cases.
In order to report fraud against the government and recover under the FCA, a whistleblower must file a lawsuit, rather than call a hotline or follow some other reporting mechanism. The lawsuit itself is complex, requiring specificity in pleading the claims of fraud. Only the first relator to report the fraud under the FCA is eligible for a reward. The government declines to intervene in the vast majority of cases. A qui tam lawyer can help the relator file an action that will get the attention of the government and maximize the chance of government intervention and success. Finally, an FCA claim can take years to investigate and litigate, making securing a qui tam attorney even more important.
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