Whistle blower or Qui Tam actions arise under the federal False Claim Act (“FCA”) as well as state legislation. Under the FCA, a private citizen is allowed to file a claim against a person or company who is knowingly defrauding the federal government. The Act also protects such persons who can be demoted, threatened of fired for bringing such fraudulent conduct to light. A successful qui tam action entitles the plaintiff whistleblower to 15-30% of the government’s total recovery, an amount that can be quite significant. The government has the right to participate or can decline participating, in which case the plaintiff moves forward without the government’s participation.
Such actions arise in a variety of settings as fraud against the government is extensive. Knowingly submitting or causing a fraudulent claim for payment to be submitted to the federal government, knowingly using or conspiring to use a false statement or record to get a claim paid by the federal government, or knowingly using a false record or statement to diminish or conceal an obligation to pay money or provide goods and/or services to the federal government can all raise a cause of action in federal district court. More commonly, FCA matters involve Medicare/Medicaid fraud, health care fraud, Department of Defense contract fraud and fraud involving government loans and construction contracts.
Similarly, the Georgia Taxpayer Protection False Claims Act likewise allows private citizens to file state qui tam lawsuits against individuals and/or companies that commit fraud against state or local government, which include MARTA, a municipality or county, a school district, a hospital authority or a political subdivision of a local government.
Only the first citizen who reports the fraud is allowed to proceed with the suit so if you believe you know of fraud being committed against the federal or state government, you need to have your case quickly evaluated before you lose the right to file. The lawyers at Prieto, Marigliano, Holbert & Prieto, LLC. are committed to providing you with a quick, honest and accurate assessment so you can best evaluate your options.