In 2010, the Minnesota False Claims Act (“Minnesota FCA”) went into effect. This is the State of Minnesota’s version of the federal False Claims Act (“FCA”). The Minnesota FCA allows private individuals to bring a qui tam case against a person or entity for submitting or causing the submission of fraudulent claims to the state government or any political subdivision of the State, such as a county, city, town, or school district.
Like the federal FCA, the Minnesota FCA allows for financial rewards to whistleblowers for bringing an action on behalf of the State. If the State decides to intervene in the case, the whistleblower may receive 15-25% of the recovery. If the State does not intervene and the whistleblower pursues the case on their own, the whistleblower may receive 25-30% of the recovery. And if the State does not intervene initially but subsequently joins the case, the whistleblower may receive 15-30% of the recovery.
Minnesota False Claims Act and Federal False Claims Act Similarities
Key provisions of the Minnesota FCA mirror the federal FCA, such as:
- Liability attaches under the Minnesota FCA for: 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.
- Minnesota can recover triple the amount it was defrauded, plus up to $11,000 per violation.
- A private citizen who knows about fraud against Minnesota can bring a claim on behalf of the State. If the State Attorney General decides not to pursue the case, the citizen has the right to proceed in Court.
- Once an action is brought under the Minnesota FCA, it remains under seal for at least 60 days
- The Minnesota FCA prohibits employers 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.
Minnesota False Claims Act and Federal False Claims Act Differences
While the Minnesota FCA and the federal FCA have numerous similarities, they also have several differences:
- The Minnesota FCA allows a recovery for a fraud that cost money to either the State of Minnesota OR to any political subdivision of the State, such as a county, city, or school district.
- Qui tam cases must be brought under the Minnesota FCA within three years of discovery of the fraud and within six years of when the fraud occurred.
For more information on the Minnesota FCA or to speak with an attorney, please contact Berger Montague at [email protected] or call 612-594-5999. Berger Montague has an office in Minneapolis, MN, and our attorneys are prepared to file whistleblower cases under the Minnesota FCA.
One last thing…
For more than a decade, the Berger Montague 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.