The False Claims Act is the single most effective tool U.S. taxpayers have to recover the billions of dollars stolen through fraud every year.
Under the False Claims Act, those who knowingly submit, or cause another person to submit, false claims for payment of government funds are liable for up to three times the government’s damages plus civil penalties of $5,500 to $11,000 for each false claim.
The False Claims Act contains qui tam provisions, which allow people with evidence of fraud against the government to sue on behalf of the Government. People who sue under the FCA are called “relators” or “whistleblowers,” and are eligible for 15 to 30 percent of the amount recovered. Check out our Whistleblowing 101 deck for a basic overview of the False Claims Act.
Learn more about the impact of the today’s Whistleblower Programs (IRS, SEC & CFTC), the latest increase in healthcare fraud recoveries, State False Claims Acts and the living legacy of “Lincoln’s Law”.
FCA Fast Facts
- Routine mistakes and errors are not prosecuted under the False Claims Act.More
The False Claims Act is not used to correct minor billing mistakes or errors, as these frauds are not systematic, and rarely amount to truly large sums of money.
- The False Claims Act provides some employment protections. More
If an employee is fired, demoted, harassed, or otherwise discriminated against for filing a False Claims Act suit, the law provides for reinstatement, double back pay, and compensation for special damages, including litigation costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.
- Frivolous lawsuits are discouraged.More
Most False Claims Act lawyers work on a contingency basis, they only get paid if they win. This means that they are unlikely to invest time, money and energy building a case that they themselves do not feel will be productive. In addition, under the False Claims Act, a complainant can be required to pay the defendants attorney’s fees if the court finds that the claim was frivolous or brought primarily for purposes of harassment.
- Big cases require big investments.More
Big fraud cases prosecuted under the False Claims Act often require many years of litigation and investigation. For example, the whistleblower in the first Columbia-HCA fraud case spent 13 years pursuing his False Claims Act lawsuit. The law firm that spearheaded this case invested more than 85,000 hours in the case. In the end, the various frauds perpetrated by Columbia-HCA returned over $1.5 billion to the U.S. Treasury.
- Cheaters pay whistleblower awards, not American taxpayers.More
Companies cheating the U.S. Government pay whistleblower rewards – not one dime comes from U.S. taxpayers. The reason for this is that the False Claims Act calls for triple damages so that the Government can be made whole, not only by recouping the cost of whistleblower awards, but also by recovering the cost of investigations, prosecutions, and lost interest.
- The government counts on whistleblowers.More
More than 80 percent of the False Claims Act cases that are now pursued by the U.S. Department of Justice are initiated by whistleblowers.