In 2005, the State of Indiana passed the Indiana False Claims and Whistleblower Protection Act (“IFCWPA”), its own version of the federal False Claims Act (“FCA”). The IFCWPA allows private individuals who know about fraud to bring a qui tam case against a person or entity for submitting or causing the submission of false claims to the State.
Like the federal FCA, the IFCWPA offers financial rewards to whistleblowers for bringing an action on behalf of the State. If the State decides to intervene in a case, the whistleblower may receive 15-25% of the recovery. If the State decides not to intervene and the whistleblower pursues the case on their own, they may receive 25-30% of the recovery.
The IFCWPA expands upon Indiana’s Medicaid False Claims and Whistleblower Protection Act, which only imposes liability on people or entities who present false claims related to Medicaid. The IFCWPA is not limited to Medicaid and broadly applies to all types of false claims.
IFCWPA and Federal FCA Similarities
Key provisions of the IFCWPA mirror the federal FCA, such as:
- Liability attaches under the IFCWPA for, among other violations: submitting a false claim for payment to the State, making or using a false record or statement material to a false claim, failing to deliver all of the property owed to the State, creating or submitting a false receipt, making a false purchase, or conspiring to do any of these actions.
- A private citizen who knows about fraud against the State of Indiana can bring a claim on behalf of the State. If the Indiana Attorney General decides not to pursue the case, the citizen has the right to proceed with the litigation in Court.
- Employers are prohibited from retaliating against whistleblower employees. Retaliation includes firing, demoting, suspending, threatening, or harassing the employee. If the employer does retaliate, the employee is entitled to the reinstatement of their position, two times the amount of back pay, interest on the back pay, and compensation for any damages sustained because of the discrimination, including litigation costs and reasonable attorney fees.
IFCWPA and Federal FCA Differences
While the IFCWPA and the federal FCA have numerous similarities, they also have several differences:
- Under the federal FCA, the government can recover triple the amount of its actual damages, plus between $5,500 and $11,000 per violation. Under the IFCWPA, Indiana can recover triple the amount of damages, plus at least $5,000 per violation-there is no maximum penalty.
- Once an action is brought under the federal FCA, it remains under seal for at least 60 days. When an action is brought under the IFCWPA, it remains under seal for at least 120 days.
- Unlike the federal FCA, the IFCWPA bars qui tam actions brought by a current or former state employee unless the employee exhausted internal procedures for reporting the false claim, and the state failed to act on the information.
- The federal FCA allows the Court to reduce the whistleblower relator’s award amount if the relator participated in the FCA violation. Under the IFCWPA, relators who participated in the violation are prohibited from receiving financial rewards.
For more information on the IFCWPA or to speak with an attorney, please contact Joy Clairmont at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-875-5803. To read more about what whistleblower clients can expect from our lawyers, click here.
One last thing…
For more than a decade, the Berger & Montague, P.C. Whistleblower, Qui Tam & False Claims Act Practice Group has represented whistleblowers in matters involving healthcare fraud, defense contracting fraud, IRS fraud, securities fraud, and commodities fraud. While the information on this blog is not legal advice, we would be more than happy to speak with you directly about your potential case. Any information you share with us will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality, and we will protect you every step of the way.
Do you need a Whistleblower Lawyer or want to know more information about Qui Tam Law and your rights under the False Claims Act?
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