Begelman & Orlow Wins Significant Monetary Reward for Client
Many people wonder – what is a whistleblower? Blowing a whistle literally usually signifies some type of danger in our lives, and by filing a “whistleblower” lawsuit, the person filing the claim is exposing a danger or a wrongdoing perpetrated by a company onto the public or the federal government.
A qui tam whistleblower lawsuit is a claim started by an individual with standing (or rights) to sue someone else for a fraudulent act. These lawsuits tell the federal government of unethical behavior by a corporation, and help the government to recover funds obtained by the fraudulent acts of companies such as when a company defrauds the Medicaid or Medicare system. Any fraudulent act is able to be exposed by anyone close enough to the claim to bring a lawsuit. These claims save money in the long run for all Americans who end up paying more for services as a result of fraud.
One of the most important parts of bringing a qui tam case is making sure you are represented by a law firm that knows the complex and ever-changing laws regarding whistleblowing. These cases can take a very long time to complete and the law firm representing the whistleblower won’t get paid unless the case is successful. Therefore, an experienced firm only takes qui tam cases it believes have validity.
Case in point: Begelman & Orlow, P. C. has been representing whistleblowers in New Jersey and throughout the United States for decades. When Sharon McKinney of Owega, NY hired the firm, she knew she was in good hands. The firm announced that her case against her employer, DHS, Inc., was settled on Dec. 4 earning her $361,000 or 19 percent of the money recouped in the case by the US government.
Here’s what happened: DHS managers signed government contracts but submitted false bid and billing documents to the government’s General Services Administration (GSA). The GSA is a government department that manages various government businesses, such as delivering technology sources and governing efficient government operations in building and real estate contracts nationwide.
In this case, the government contracted with DHS to have DHS to manufacture deployable rapid-assembly shelters, along with any parts and services necessary to ready the shelters for use by the government services. DHS sent billing to the government for shelters the government bought from the company, but the bills sent were fraudulent and overstated the amount actually due.
Ms. McKinney was a former contracts officer at DHS. In 2011, she brought the qui tam lawsuit against her employer under the False Claims Act. The lawsuit informed the government that DHS was purposefully sending fraudulent billings and bids to GSA, to make money illegally on the contracts. In her lawsuit, Ms. McKinney said DHS overvalued the price of the deployable rapid assembly shelters and related equipment by 20 percent more than the real and actual worth.
Ms. McKinney, the whistleblower, was represented by Regina D. Poserina, of the law firm Begelman & Orlow, P. C. of Cherry Hill, NJ.
The government joined Ms. McKinney’s lawsuit. According to Dec. 4, 2014 court documents, DHS agreed to pay the government $1.9 million to settle the allegations. As part of the settlement, Ms. McKinney will receive 19 percent share of all recoveries obtained by the Government under the False Claims Act.
“The combination of tireless government attorneys and investigators, working with an exemplary whistleblower and her attorneys, embodies the public/private partnership contemplated by the False Claims Act,” said Ms. Poserina.
“The False Claims Act was created to help private citizens like Sharon McKinney, report fraud on the United States, expose those who would commit fraud on taxpayers, and to deter future corporate fraud against the Government. Fraud against our military is especially egregious, given our shrinking military budgets,” Ms. Poserina added.
When whistleblowers do the right thing and expose unethical bosses and employers, the employer will often retaliate against the employee for being exposed of their wrongdoing under the law. Ms. McKinney also experienced employer retaliation in this case, and has brought an employment retaliation claim, as well.
Begelman & Orlow, P. C. is a nationally recognized leader in the representation of whistleblower or qui tam plaintiffs in complex Qui Tam, Federal, and State False Claims Act claims.
If you believe you possess information that may lead to a verifiable whistleblower lawsuit, you stand to recoup a sizable award if the government recoups any of its losses. Contact Begelman & Orlow, P. C. about your case. This firm has the experience and staff it takes to build a convincing case while protecting the rights and recoveries of the whistleblower who reports the fraud. For more information, please contact Begelman & Orlow, P. C. at 866.627.7052.