Everything you need to know about False Claims Act whistleblowers

The False Claims Act was enacted in 1863 to combat fraud against the federal government by contractors responsible for providing military supplies. Amendments to this Act now encourage individuals or organizations to safely report claims of attempts to gain compensation under pretense to the U.S. Government. Individuals who know of fraudulent acts against the government may file a lawsuit against the entity committing fraud to reclaim damages on behalf of the government.

The term whistleblower identifies the individual or organization that uses their knowledge to expose fraudulent acts against the government in an attempt to profit. Work with an experienced Georgia False Claims Act lawyer at Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC if you have knowledge of fraud against the U.S. Government and plan to act as a False Claims Act whistleblower.

false claims act whistleblower

What is a whistleblower suit under the False Claims Act?

A whistleblower provision of the False Claim Act, known as qui tam, or whistleblower, allows a private person possessing knowledge of material fraud against the U.S. government to file a lawsuit on behalf of the United States. The term “material” identifies something as naturally tending to influence or possessing the capability of influencing payment or receipt of money or property.

What conduct may False Claims Act whistleblowers report?

The False Claim Act allows various ways for prosecutors to target various types of fraud to prevent the government’s financial loss. The False Claim Act recognizes the following conduct as violations:

  • False claims: To present or cause the presentation of a deceptive claim to gain approval or compensation
  • False records or statements: To know that you are making, using, or causing to make use of a deceptive record or statement to allow the payment or approval of a government payment
  • Conspiracy: Plotting to defraud the government by permitting or allowing a false claim to be paid
  • Conversion: Not returning property belonging to the government
  • False Receipt: Being approved to produce or deliver a document certifying receipt of property used by the government while intending to defraud the government by producing or delivering a receipt without knowing the information on the receiving documentation is accurate
  • Unlawful purchases of government property: Knowingly buying or receiving public property as a promise of a debt or obligation from a representative of the Government or Armed Forces who is not legally allowed to perform these transactions
  • Reverse false claim: Knowingly causing, making, or using an untrue record or statement to prevent, reduce, or hide an obligation to pay or transmit a payment or property to the government

Is there False Claims Act whistleblower protection?

The qui tam provision in the False Claims Act allows for filing a complaint under seal for 60 days. It protects against retaliation through the following acts:

  • Discharge
  • Demotion
  • Suspension
  • Threats
  • Harassment
  • Other manners of discriminatory acts

Relief for these acts include:

  • Reinstatement to the position at the current level of seniority
  • Back pay to equal two times the amount
  • Interest on the back pay
  • Special damages compensation resulting from the discriminatory acts
  • Legal fees and reasonable attorney’s fees

Is there a False Claims Act whistleblower reward?

A False Claims Act whistleblower receives a monetary award when the government pursues a claim and wins. The award to the whistleblower includes:

  • 15-25% of the recovered funds with the government’s intervention under the qui tam action
  • 25-30% when the government chooses not to intervene in the action
  • A successful qui tam action provides for the legal fees and additional expenses of the whistleblower
  • Recoveries made through alternate remedies entitle the whistleblower to the same share of the recovery amount as would be provided under a Fair Claims Act suit.

What happens when the government refuses to take action?

As stated, the government may choose not to intervene or act against someone accused of violating the False Claims Act. With the guidance of a Georgia False Claims Act lawyer, a whistleblower must decide to proceed with action independently.

Contact a Georgia False Claims Act lawyer

Reviewing your claim as soon as possible with experienced representation will allow you to move forward with a strong case. The False Claim Act and whistleblower protection does not apply when taking independent action.

Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC possesses a broad range of experience that can guide you in decision-making, help you understand your rights, and provide exceptional representation in claims filed under the False Claims Act or through independent legal action. Contact us online or call (404) 891-9150.