Protecting the Rights of Whistleblowers Who Report Fraud
The Federal False Claims Act (FCA), created during the Civil War, is legislation that strictly prohibits defrauding the American government and U.S. taxpayers for financial gain. The qui tam provision of the act allows for people who are aware of fraud being committed against the government to file a claim on the government’s behalf. This person is called a “relator.”
Once filed, the case is presented to the government for review. The government will either take up the case (intervene), using their resources to litigate, or it will decline to intervene. If declined, the FCA allows the relator to pursue and litigate the case on their own with their own attorneys.
The False Claims Act attorneys at Ashcraft & Gerel are well-versed in handling these cases in which the government chooses not to intervene. If you have knowledge of fraud being committed against the U.S. government, we can help you understand your options, including what to do next and how to proceed if the government does not intervene.
How Much Can You Recover for Reporting Fraud?
If a defendant is found in violation of the Federal False Claims Act, they are statutorily required to pay up to three times the monetary damages suffered by the government/taxpayers, a civil penalty of $5,500 to $11,000 per “false” claim, as well as the relator’s attorney fees. As an incentive for those courageous people to report fraud against the government, the relator is rewarded 15 to 30% of the money returned to the government.
Retaliation against Relators Is Illegal
The False Claims Act (FCA) also provides protection for the relator in the form of an anti-retaliation provision (31 U.S.C. §3730(h)). According to the provision, an employer cannot retaliate against an employee for bringing attention (whistleblowing) to the employers’ fraudulent behavior, either within the company or outside of it. To have a retaliation claim under the FCA, the employer must be aware of an employee’s “whistleblower” actions and there must be proof that retaliation was a direct result of those actions.
Contact Ashcraft & Gerel
If you believe you may have grounds for filing a claim under the False Claims Act, reach out to Ashcraft & Gerel for a free, confidential consultation. Our False Claims Act lawyers have been representing clients in Washington D.C., Silver Spring, Baltimore, Landover, Rockville, Fairfax, and Manassas for over 65 years.