Federal Government Pays Millions in Qui Tam Whistleblower Lawsuits
Whistleblowers, who sue a company that is submitting false bills to the federal government, save the government and taxpayers billions of dollars. They can help control the cost of health care and defense spending by exposing attempts to "cheat" the government, as well as provide a means for the government to seek reimbursement. Whistleblower cases brought on behalf of federal agencies have resulted in an average recovery of $8.6 million per case for a total of over two billion dollars recovered by the government.
At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we can help plaintiffs bring claims to recover public funds against companies that defraud the government.
The False Claims Act permits an ordinary citizen to initiate a claim against a person or entity that has defrauded the federal government with false billings. This act and similar state acts, including the Georgia Whistleblower Act, provide financial incentives to citizens to sue government contractors who defraud the government in a "qui tam lawsuit," by allowing the citizen to share in the recovery in amounts between 15-30% of the total recovery. The citizens that bring the action are referred to as "relators" and have received over $340 million in compensation for bringing such actions. The Civil False Claims Act effectively makes a private citizen an agent of the government in the battle against all types of fraud against the federal government from those who submit false bills, such as, fraudulent medical billings to Medicare or Medicaid. Common types of false claims for payment that can be the basis of a qui tam claim include:
- Fraudulent Medicaid billings by nursing homes
- Fraudulent Medicare or Medicaid billings by health care professionals
- Fraudulent billings by defense contractors
- Ponzi Schemes
A citizen that initiates such a claim is protected by the Act from adverse acts such as retaliation or discrimination in their terms or conditions of employment for filing a qui tam lawsuit. If an employee is subject to adverse action by one's employer for initiating a qui tam claim against one's employer, the employee may seek the following compensation:
- Double Back Pay
- Interest on Unpaid Wages
- Litigation Costs & Attorneys Fees
The person who initiates a qui tam action is entitled to 15-30% of the government's total recovery in the action, which can include three times the amount of the false billings and penalties of $5,000-10,000 per false claim. For the whistleblower to be compensated under the False Claims Act, the person who initiates the claim must comply with the complex procedures under the Act. The complaint is initially filed under seal and provided to the government, but must not be disclosed to anyone else including the company against whom the claim is made. This gives the government time to investigate the claims in secret before deciding how to proceed. The government can then intervene in the action or choose to let the private citizen proceed, but the citizen is entitled to their share of the recovery either way.
At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we understand the vital role that whistleblowers play in protecting public funds.Georgia whistleblower attorneys also know that an employee with knowledge that their employer is defrauding the government with false billings may fear reprisals from their employer, but a free no obligation consultation with Montlick & Associates can provide a safe way for you to learn about your rights and options. Call Montlick & Associates today to see how we can help. We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away and we will even come to you.