Overview of Our False Claims/ Qui Tam
Our attorneys represent clients in pursuing claims under the federal and state False Claims Acts, the SEC Whistleblower and CFTC Whistleblower Programs, and in the IRS Whistleblower Program. The federal False Claims Act allows private citizen “whistleblowers,” to file suit on behalf of the United States government in certain circumstances when the government has been defrauded. The “qui tam” provisions of the False Claims Act allow whistleblowers to share in the recovery of damages, and whistleblowers are entitled to receive up to 30% of the amount of money the government recovers from companies and individuals who defraud the United States.
In addition to federal and state False Claims Acts, there are other whistleblower provisions associated with other types of government fraud. In 2006, a new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Whistleblower Program was implemented to expose tax evasion, tax fraud and other related tax violations. More recently, the U.S. Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) developed their own Whistleblower Programs. “Whistleblower” provisions have been and continue to be very effective and successful tools in combating false claims and fraud against the government. Businesses being held liable include government contractors and subcontractors, state and local government agencies and officials, public and private universities, and members of the healthcare industry. Whistleblowers most often are current or former employees of the defrauding company. Federal statutes prohibit retaliation against corporate employees and whistleblowers who report misconduct under whistleblower laws.
Once a whistleblower/qui tam claim is filed under the False Claims Act, it is sealed and kept confidential while the federal government conducts their own investigation to ascertain whether it will intervene in the suit. If the U.S. opts to get involved, it takes over the lead role in the False Claims Act lawsuit, although a whistleblower and his/her attorney are often still involved at some level. If the government intervenes, it’s good news for the whistleblower as the government has a high success rate for the cases it pursues, which enhances the likelihood that the whistleblower will receive an award of up to 30% of any recovery. If the government opts not to join the suit, a whistleblower can still pursue the claim on his/her own.
Some of the most common examples of misconduct or fraud that can be the subject of a whistleblower claim, include:
- Accounting fraud
- Billing the government for services that were not provided, were substandard, malfunctioned or mislabeled
- Bribing a foreign official
- Failing to report overpayment made by the government
- Marketing or selling drugs outside of uses approved by the Food and Drug Administration
- Receiving government funds through false certifications or violations of law
- Tax evasion and tax fraud
- Trading or fraud manipulation in commodities or securities
- Workplace violations
The attorneys at Glade Voogt Lopez Smith are uniquely qualified to handle Whistleblower and Qui Tam matters. We have experience preparing and prosecuting fraud cases as former federal and state prosecutors and as private practitioners representing whistleblowers. In particular, our experience as federal and state prosecutors (including having managed whistleblower investigations as prosecutors) well-positions us to convince prosecutors to intervene in a Qui Tam action brought under the False Claims Act.
Glade Voogt Lopez Smith represents whistleblowers in Qui Tam actions as well as other cases brought under federal and state whistleblower reward programs, including:
- Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Whistleblower Program
- Fraud in commodity futures, options and “swaps.”
- False Claims Act Qui Tam Action
- Medicare/Medicaid fraud, pharmaceutical fraud, medical device fraud, defense contractor fraud, construction fraud, mortgage fraud and other types of fraud against the government
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Whistleblower Program
- Tax fraud and tax evasion
- Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Whistleblower Program
- Discrimination or retaliation for reporting workplace safety or health hazards; environmental hazards; asbestos in schools; commercial motor vehicle, maritime, public transportation, aviation, railroad and cargo container safety; motor vehicle defects; pipeline facility safety; consumer product and food safety; nuclear power and medicine safety; and Affordable Care Act violations
- Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) Whistleblower Program
- Corporate accounting and financial fraud under Dodd Frank Act, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
- Workplace Discrimination or Retaliation Whistleblower Action
- Complaints about harassment or discrimination in the workplace, wage and hour laws, or family and medical leave act laws
Our False Claims Qui Tam Practice Attorneys
- Frank Lopez, Practice Leader
- David Aschkinasi
- Asher M.B. Ritmiller
- Edward L. Shepyer