Whistleblower and Government Fraud
Laws enacted in almost every state, in addition to Federal statutes, not only encourage whistleblowers, but have created a method that allows the whistleblower to share in the state/federal recovery against the company or group of companies overcharging the governmental entity. In fact, in 1986 Congress strengthened the False Claims Act (the primary resource for whistleblowers) by amending it to increase incentives for whistleblowers to file lawsuits on behalf of the government.
In California, the California Whistleblower Protection Act authorizes the California State Auditor to receive complaints from state employees and members of the public who wish to report an improper governmental activity. An “improper governmental activity” is defined as any action by a state agency or any action by a state employee directly related to state government that violates the law, an Executive Order of the Governor, a Rule of Court, the State Administrative Manual or State Contracting Manual, is economically wasteful, or otherwise involves gross misconduct, incompetency, or inefficiency.
On the federal level, the 1986 amendments to the False Claims Act predictability have increased the number of whistleblower cases filed each year. In 2013, that number soared to 752 – 100 more than the record set the previous year. Since 2009, the Justice Department has recovered $17 billion under the False Claims Act – nearly half the total recoveries since the act was amended. In 2013 alone the Justice Department secured $3.8 billion in settlement and judgment from civil cases involving fraud against the government.
The cases that garner the most attention deal with Medicare and Medicaid overcharges. In 2013 the Justice Department announced that they had recovered $2.6 billion related to health care fraud. While this may be the largest area of recovery, qui tam type of cases run the gamut of types of fraud: underperforming on contracts, kickbacks, overcharges and other misconduct in almost all forms involving local, state and federal government.
Whistleblowers Who Changed U.S. History
Why should you consider filing a whistleblower claim?
In our experience, many people are willing to file a whistleblower and qui tam cases because they realize that a wrong has been committed and needs to be ‘righted’. Absent a whistleblower's willingness to step forward, government corruption will fail to be timely addressed to the detriment of society as a whole, including every taxpayer. In addition, most qui tam statutes allow for a ‘reward’ system that allows the whistleblower to share in up to 30% of the government’s recovery.
Why hire a whistleblower lawyer at Audet & Partners, LLP?
The attorneys at Audet & Partners, LLP have been involved with a number of important whistleblower and qui tam cases over the years. Our experience in complex litigation, along with our working relationship with many local and national governmental entities provides us with a unique ability to present cases that are likely to be ‘accepted’ by the relevant governmental unit. In our qui tam cases, we spend a significant amount of time, energy and expense investigating any potential case. We are very careful in only accepting cases that we believe will result in a recovery for the government, as well as our client.
If you are considering becoming a whistleblower or you simply have a question regarding your rights, you should contact us. Your case will be reviewed by an attorney immediately who will clearly inform you of your options. As we also practice employment litigation, and as cases of this nature usually relate to employment issues, you will be provided the best advice as to your best options regarding both your employment issues and any potential qui tam claim.