In the midst of the Civil War, unscrupulous suppliers repeatedly defrauded the Union Army by delivering artillery shells filled with sawdust and defective rifles to the front lines. Congress responded in 1863 by passing the False Claims Act which imposes strict penalties upon those who make false statements in order to obtain payment from the U.S. Government.
Today, the False Claims Act (“FCA”) is the United States’ primary tool in combating fraud against the government. In 2013 alone, the United States recovered over $3.8 billion in judgments and settlements relating to fraud upon the government. The majority of these recoveries occurred in cases involving healthcare fraud. The government has recovered nearly $35 billion under the False Claims Act between its 1986 amendment and 2012.
Employees at health care facilities and government contracting companies play a critical role in bringing fraudulent conduct to the attention of the United State each year. The law allows private citizens (often called whistleblowers) to bring what is known as a qui tam action on behalf of the government against persons and companies that defraud governmental programs. The False Claims Act also includes provisions that make it unlawful for an employer to retaliate against a whistleblowing employee, allowing the employee to sue if he or she is fired or otherwise retaliated against by the employer.
Today, over 70 percent of all federal government FCA actions are initiated by such whistleblowers. These actions help the government stop many different kinds of fraud, including Medicare/Medicaid fraud, defense contractor fraud, financial industry fraud, and construction and procurement fraud. Companies found responsible for defrauding the government are subject to double the actual amount of the fraudulently obtained monies. Whistleblowers (“relators”) filing under the Act stand to receive a portion (typically between 15-30 percent) of any recovered damages.
We have extensive experience litigating False Claims Act cases. Representative matters include the preparation and filing of qui tam complaints involving government contracting, healthcare fraud, and whistleblower retaliation claims. Our lawyers have handled a number of high value False Claims Act cases with millions of dollars of fraudulent claims at stake. The United States government has intervened and prosecuted the overwhelming majority of the cases filed by Lars Liebeler's clients.
Whistleblowers take on personal and professional risks when they attempt to stop and also expose fraud against the government. Such risk is compounded by the numerous procedural and technical hurdles facing a whistleblower pursuing a False Claims Act case. Thus it is important for a private citizen with knowledge of fraud against the government to seek an attorney that understands the risks involved and what steps must be taken in pursuing such a claim.
so that you
may feel the exhilaration
GEORGE S. PATTON