Taxpayers must bear the burden when businesses, private parties, and contractors use deceptive practices to gouge the federal government. The False Claims Act (FCA) was passed by Congress over 160 years ago to prevent people from defrauding the government.
The FCA allows whistleblowers to report fraudulent activities they have witnessed. Whistleblowers may be entitled to collect a percentage of the money that the government recovers in these cases. Filing a successful whistleblower claim requires a thorough understanding of the law, and whistleblowers may need legal protection against retaliation.
If you are thinking about filing a whistleblower claim, you’ll want to find an attorney who has the right mix of experience, legal knowledge, and tenacity to stand up for you. At Butler Prather LLP, we’ve been winning difficult cases against powerful interests for over 35 years, and we’ll be by your side every step of the way.
Our firm has won hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for clients in over 30 states. We’ve won nine verdicts that exceed $100 million and over 60 verdicts and settlements of over $10 million.
If you have direct knowledge about procurement fraud that’s occurring in Georgia, we want to hear about it—such as Medicaid fraud, Medicare fraud, Federal Highway Administration fraud, or procurement fraud that’s connected to one of our military bases, such as Hunter Army Airfield or Fort Stewart.
Call us at (706) 322-1990 to learn more today.
The FCA has two main purposes: to recover funds lost by the federal government due to fraud and to discourage others from committing these crimes in the future. A whistleblower is someone who reports fraud. When a whistleblower initiates a claim of fraud that’s been committed against the federal government, it’s referred to as a qui tam tort, which is a Latin phrase meaning “in the name of the king.”
A whistleblower who initiates a qui tam action must have first-hand knowledge of fraudulent action. Under FCA, the penalties for defrauding the federal government are severe, and may include:
You may file a claim with the Attorney General of the United States if you have knowledge that someone is defrauding the federal government. The government will investigate the allegations and decide if they want to pursue the case. In situations where the government initiates a case on its own, no one will be allowed to join.
A whistleblower who initiates a qui tam lawsuit is referred to as a realtor. When the government chooses to pursue a case initiated by a whistleblower, that person will receive up to between 15% and 20% of any government recovery. If the government decides not to pursue your case, you still have the right to proceed, but you will have to pay the prosecution costs. Whistleblowers who win a tort without government assistance are entitled to receive between 25% and 30% of the government’s recovery.
If the Attorney General decides to investigate a party under the FCA, the case will be handed off to the Fraud Section of the Justice Department. People who commit or conspire to commit any of the following types of procurement fraud may be subject to FCA penalties.
Three major types of procurement fraud are collusion, bribes, and kickbacks. Collusion occurs when parties secretly agree not to bid above a certain amount for a government contract that is open to competition. A bribe is a gift or monetary payment that’s paid to someone in advance for breaking a government rule, and a kickback is a bribe that’s paid after the crime is committed.
Examples of procurement fraud prohibited by the FCA include:
Only the first person who files a qui tam tort is allowed to collect damages, and there is a six-year filing deadline. To be successful, you’ll want to get started as quickly as possible.
The Attorney General’s office is much more likely to pursue a claim that’s well-written and fully researched. It’s important to file a qui tam tort that clearly charts out relevant case law and legal precedents. Butler Prather LLP has decades of experience and a winning track record when it comes to whistleblower cases and can guide you through the legal process.
Whistleblowers may be subject to illegal retaliation from bosses and coworkers. Federal laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act have provisions to protect you. Our firm will file a lawsuit against anyone who tries to intimidate or harass you for your qui tam tort.
We’ve won a lot of big cases over the years at Butler Prather LLP. But at the end of the day, our Savannah lawyers take the most satisfaction in sticking up for people and helping you fight back against wrongdoers.
If you have direct knowledge about government procurement fraud, call Butler Prather LLP today at (706) 322-1990 for a complimentary consultation.
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