What is the False Claims Act & Why You Should Care

When someone tries to defraud the government, it hurts all taxpayers. Anyone who has information that proves wrongdoing against the US government is permitted to bring a lawsuit under the False Claims Act (also called qui tam).

Under 31 U.S.C. Sections 3729 through 3733, the False Claims Act includes several types of violations including:

  • presenting a fraudulent claim for payment
  • using false information to get a claim paid by the government
  • conspiring with others in an effort to get the federal government to pay a false claim
  • using false information to avoid repayment of money to the government

Once evidence of the fraudulent activity is presented to the Department of Justice or other relevant government agencies, the government may choose to join the action. If it doesn’t intervene, the individual – the whistleblower or relator – has the right to continue with their own lawsuit.

Who is allowed to file a qui tam case? Anyone with evidence of fraud against the federal government is permitted to file a lawsuit. There are statutes of limitations on presenting information. Additionally, there is a first-to-file clause that says the first person to file a claim with the same evidence will be the only one who can bring the lawsuit. For these reasons, it’s important to contact a qualified whistleblower lawyer right away.

Why should you care about the False Claims Act? Well, first off, choosing to become a whistleblower may be a difficult decision but righting a wrong is the correct thing to do. Also, the False Claims Act provides a way for whistleblowers to be financially compensated for their efforts. If the government intervenes, relators are entitled to receive 15 to 25 percent of whatever the government recovers. If the government opts out, the percentage the whistleblower may get increases to 25 to 30 percent of the recovery.

If you believe you have evidence of a fraudulent scam against the government, contact Begelman & Orlow right away for a review of your information. If we determine you have a viable qui tam case, we will be by your side every step of the way.

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