Columbus False Claims Act/Whistleblower Attorneys
FCA/Whistleblower Attorneys in Columbus, GA, Who Win Big Cases
When someone steals money from the government, they are harming everyone. That money was allocated to address the specific needs of our citizens, such as building roads and highways, defending our nation, and providing medical care for senior citizens.
The False Claims Act (FCA) allows people who have personally witnessed fraudulent acts against the government to report these crimes without fear of retaliation. Under FCA, citizens who report fraud have a right to collect a percentage of the damages the government recovers.
It takes courage to report a crime, especially when the guilty party is your boss, associate, or employer. But you don’t have to do it on your own. The experienced Georgia whistleblower lawyers at Butler Prather LLP can assist you with your qui tam tort filing and take legal steps to protect you from retaliation.
For over 35 years, the personal injury lawyers at Butler Prather LLP have been helping people get justice in Columbus, Georgia, and across the nation. Our skilled litigators have won hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for clients in over 30 states. We’ve won nine verdicts exceeding $100 million and over 60 verdicts and settlements of over $10 million.
If you’re ready to do the right thing, we’re here to help. Call us at (706) 322-1990 to schedule a complimentary consultation today.
What Is the False Claims Act?
The False Claims Act (FCA) is a federal statute that’s designed to recover funds and penalize people who knowingly defraud the federal government of material resources or knowingly attempt to defraud the federal government of material resources.
FCA penalties are severe. They include three times the amount of the government’s damages and fines up to $27,018 for each offense. The FCA allows private whistleblowers who have first-hand knowledge of these crimes to report them to the attorney general. These lawsuits are referred to as qui tam torts, and the person who files one may be eligible to receive a portion of the government’s recovery.
In a recent year, the federal government collected over $2.2 billion in damages based on claims filed under the FCA. The State of Georgia has its own False Claims Act that applies specifically to Medicaid fraud. Georgia also has a law known as the Taxpayer Protection Act, which covers acts of fraud committed against the state. Like the FCA, these two laws provide whistleblower protection and allow for qui tam filing.
Examples of Qui Tam Cases Handled by FCA Whistleblower Attorneys
Procurement fraud frequently involves kickbacks or collusion. A kickback is an illegal gift or payment made to someone in return for preferential treatment in a government bidding process or goods or services that are legitimately received. Collusion is the secret cooperation of two or more parties to limit open competition, such as when suppliers secretly agree not to bid below a certain amount for a government contract.
Examples of procurement fraud that may result in an FCA qui tam tort include:
- Substituting a substandard product for the one that was originally sold to the government.
- Charging more than once for the same product or service.
- Ordering medical tests under Medicaid that the patient does not receive or does not require.
- Providing kickbacks to government officials in exchange for government contracts.
- Selling the government stolen, expired, fraudulent, or counterfeit goods.
- Bid rigging: when a higher bid is accepted in exchange for a kickback.
- Misrepresenting costs during a negotiation.
- Overcharging for labor and pocketing the difference.
- Selling the government a product that fails when used.
- False certification of goods.
- Approving inflated invoices.
- Establishing fake suppliers or dummy accounts to hide your interests.
- Improper testing or when products are not tested per requirements.
- Price fixing among contractors.
- Charging the government for goods or services that are never received.
Columbus, GA, is home to many industries that do business with the federal government, and Fort Moore, which is home to more than 120,000 active-duty military personnel, is also nearby.
How to File a False Claims Act Tort
If you have direct knowledge that someone is defrauding the federal government, you can file a claim with the Attorney General of the United States. The Justice Department will investigate the fraud and decide if they want to move forward with the case. If the government decides to prosecute the case and you are the first person to bring a qui tam tort for this matter, you may be eligible to receive between 15 and 20 percent of the government’s damages.
If the government decides not to pursue the case, you may choose to proceed on your own, but you would be responsible for the cost of prosecution. In these cases, the person who files the qui tam tort is eligible to receive between 25 and 30 percent of the government’s damages.
The following types of fraudulent actions may be prosecuted under the FCA:
- False claims. Knowingly presenting a misrepresentative claim or causing or allowing a misrepresentative claim to be filed.
- Unlawful purchase. Buying public property from a government official who doesn’t have the right to sell it.
- False receipts. Creating any type of receipt for government properly without full knowledge that the information is correct.
- Conversion. Failure to return government property that you don’t have the right to possess.
- False records or statements. Knowingly making or using an illegitimate claim or causing others to do so for the purposes of defrauding the government.
- Conspiracy. Working with others to violate the FCA, even if the actual violation never comes to fruition.
- Reverse false claims. Using or creating a false record or statement related to an obligation to pay money to the government, concealing, avoiding, or decreasing an obligation to pay the government, or causing such misrepresentations to occur.
We Won’t Be Intimidated by Anyone
For over three decades, our Columbus attorneys at Butler Prather LLP have been fighting for justice. In that time, our firm has taken on some of the most powerful interests in the nation, and we’ve come out on top time and again.
Call (706) 322-1990 to learn more today.