Protecting Taxpayers Against Fraud
Wittels Law maintains an active practice representing whistleblowers in lawsuits brought under the federal False Claims Act (the “FCA”).
The FCA prohibits people and companies from defrauding the federal government by knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, a false claim for payment or approval. FCA violations can result in judgment in an amount equal to three times the amount of losses the U.S. Treasury sustained, plus civil fines. When a case is successful, whistleblowers may be entitled to an award of up to 30% of any recovery in recognition of their efforts in identifying the fraud.
What Types of Conduct do Whistleblowers Expose?
Almost any type of fraud in which the government has paid money, or has been billed for money, based on fraudulent claims likely falls under the FCA. Many successful FCA cases have involved Medicare, off-label marketing of pharmaceuticals, and military contracting fraud, while other successful cases involve federal funding for environmental, energy, farm, and education programs.
Who can be a Whistleblower?
The FCA allows a person or people to act as whistleblowers and sue the wrongdoer on behalf of the U.S. government. In such cases, the whistleblower is referred to as a “relator.” These cases are known as “qui tam” lawsuits.
Any person or entity that has evidence of a fraud occurring against the government may act as a whistleblower. Please visit our Whistleblower FAQs page for answers to your questions about whistleblower rights and whistleblower law. Alternatively, feel free to contact us with your questons.
The Dodd-Frank Act and the IRS Whistleblower Program
Under legislation enacted in 2010, known as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, whistleblowers who provide the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission with information about a violation of federal securities laws may be entitled to a reward if the government acts on that information. The recovery in this type of whistleblower case can be from 10 to 30 percent of the amount the government collects.
The Internal Revenue Service has its own separate whistleblower provision for tax fraud.
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