The False Claims Act provides awards of 15 to 30 percent of judgments and settlements against those individuals and companies that perpetrate schemes to defraud the federal government. In the event a whistleblower files a lawsuit in the name of the United States, “blows the whistle” on the fraud scheme and a financial recovery results, the whistleblower is entitled to a percentage of the recovery. Those cheating the government pay these rewards. Not one dime comes from taxpayers. The reason for this is that the False Claims Act imposes treble damages against the wrongdoer(s) so that not only can the government can be made whole from the fraud and recover all costs of the whistleblower’s awards but also recover the cost of the investigation and prosecution and lost interest on the money.
More than 80% of False Claims Acts which are pursued by the United States Department of Justice are initiated by whistleblowers. The federal government has never had a good record of investigating fraud on its own, especially in complex and technical areas like healthcare and defense procurement where specialized knowledge is required to uncover sophisticated and concealed schemes to defraud, price gouging, shotty goods and services, etc. In the history of the United States, no law has worked better to safeguard taxpayer money against fraud than the False Claims Act. False Claims Acts judgments and settlements have totaled over $14 billion since 1986. In the healthcare arena alone, the federal government is recovering $13.00 for every dollar spent in investigations, prosecutions and whistleblower awards. In addition to these direct recoveries, obviously, false claims prosecutions deter other companies and individuals from similar acts of fraud.
The reason the False Claims Act works so well is that informants/whistleblowers with special knowledge of frauds, often corporate insiders, are given incentives to blow the whistle and bring to justice corporations that are stealing monies from the American taxpayer. Whistleblowers that come forward often risk their careers. They are routinely ostracized. Many times they are retaliated against for blowing the whistle on wrongdoing. Thus, it is only just that the whistleblower should be rewarded for taking these risks and exposing fraud for the betterment of all taxpayers.
We continue to be proud of our association with whistleblowers and look forward to representing those courageous enough to expose their own employers and other wrongdoers under the False Claims Act. While the road to a successful result is often long and tedious, to expose a fraud scheme to the light of justice is a reward in and of itself. Whistleblowers should be encouraged by all taxpayers to come forward so as to root out fraud and expose schemes perpetrated by those who would defraud their own government.