False Claims Act-Whistleblower-Qui Tam Litigation
Qui Tam / Whistleblower Attorneys
Qui tam cases, whistleblower lawsuits, and False Claims Act cases.
When a company is breaking the law, brave employees often stand up for what is ethically and morally right and report the wrongdoing. These people are called whistleblowers. Whistleblowers provide an important function in our society by making sure that others are held accountable for their greed or abuse of power and cannot hide from their misdeeds because of their job titles or corporate status. Whistleblower statutes also provides job protection to whistleblowers – making the termination of a whistleblower illegal – and providing whistleblowers who have been wrongfully discharged with a potential basis to sue their former employers for backpay.
If a whistleblower has knowledge or evidence of illegal behavior, waste, fraud, mismanagement, abuse of power, or substantial and specific dangers to public health and safety caused by corporate malfeasance, it is very important that they quickly get strong and aggressive legal representation by experienced whistleblower lawyers.
representation is critical to maximize a
whistleblowers’ recovery. Many individual cases have
earned whistleblowers rewards in the millions or
tens of millions of dollars. If there is an issue
within a company that you may feel is wrong, our
whistleblower attorneys will take the time to
confidentially listen to your concerns, answer your
questions and help evaluate the strengths of any
whistleblower claim you might have.
Evangelista Worley, LLC has the experience and expertise that you need when seeking counsel for whistleblower representation and you deserve an experienced law firm that will stand up for you. Please use the form below to contact our firm with any questions or concerns about a whistleblower case you'd like to discuss with one of our experienced whistleblower attorneys.
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower ProgramIn the wake of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, Congress created a new whistleblower program within the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Under that program, a whistleblower who reports securities violations to the SEC leading to monetary sanctions in excess of $1 million are eligible for an award of 10-30% of the sanctions. SEC whistleblowers are also protected from retaliation and may recover up to double back pay, with interest, and attorney’s fees and related expenses.
The lawyers of Evangelista Worley have specialized knowledge and experience investigating securities violations. Prior to forming Evangelista Worley its members spent years representing investors in securities fraud lawsuits in New York and throughout the U.S., including representing victims of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme that led to creation of the SEC Whistleblower Program. They now use that experience representing whistleblowers reporting securities violations to the SEC.
Internal Revenue Service Whistleblower Program
A whistleblower who provides
information about nonpayment or underpayment of
federal taxes to the IRS that results in the
collection of taxes, penalties, and other amounts in
dispute in excess of $2 million is eligible to
receive 15- 30% of the amount recovered by the IRS.
The information must be reported to the IRS in the
correct way in order to be eligible for an award.
The lawyers of Evangelista Worley can assist
whistleblowers with reporting tax fraud in the
correct manner to ensure eligibility for an award.
False Claims Act/Qui Tam
The False Claims Act (FCA) is a federal statute that protects whistleblowers and financially rewards them -- up to 25% of the total amount recovered -- when they bring qui tam lawsuits as a “relator” to recover funds that the government should not have paid to others. This may occur due to fraudulent overbilling practices, shoddy goods or undelivered services. It can occur in any industry where the government pays for goods or services, including the healthcare/health insurance industry, military contracts, and the financial services industry. Many states also have false claims acts to recover funds paid by the state, including state Medicaid dollars and in state contracts.
In 2017, the Department of Justice recovered a total of $3.7 billion in settlements and judgments, making 2017 the eighth consecutive year in which the government recovered over $3 billion. $2.48 billion of the total 2017 recovery was from fraud that had occurred in the healthcare industry, and $880 million was from fraud on the Department of Defense. Of the total $3.4 billion recovered in 2017, over $393 million was paid out to whistleblowers who filed suit as a qui tam relator under the False Claims Act. Not surprisingly, in 2017 over 800 new False Claim Act lawsuits were filed, with 670 of those brought as qui tam relators, allowing the whistleblowers to share in the recovery.
Multiple federal and state healthcare programs reimburse healthcare providers for medical services provided to those program’s beneficiaries, including Medicare, Medicaid, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), and the Department of Defense’s Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS/TRICARE). When a healthcare provider submits a claim for payment for services that were not provided or the amount charged is inflated, the healthcare provider submits a false claim. Examples of false claims include when medical providers knowingly “upcode” medical services to increase the Medicare/Medicaid insurance reimbursement or where the billed-for services are not actually provided.
Government Contract Fraud
The FCA was passed in response to fraud by contractors against the federal government during the Civil War. As a result, it is often referred to as “Lincoln’s Law.” A government contractor commits a false claim, for example, when it charges for good or services not delivered, delivers goods or services that do not meet contractual specifications, or overcharges for goods or services. The FCA has been used to recover for false claims made by contractors to the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the General Services Administration (GSA), for example. Whistleblower reporting government contract fraud help the government recover taxpayer funds.
The federal and some state governments have programs to encourage homeownership. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Veterans Administration (VA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture provide insurance for certain home loans. The federal government also promotes liquidity in the housing market by purchasing home loans through Freddie and Fannie Mac. The government programs require adherence to certain underwriting standards in order to ensure the quality of the loans and reduce risk of default. When loan originators fail to adhere to those underwriting requirements, the loans the government insures or purchases are defective and are at increased risk of default. The 2007 collapse of the U.S. housing market resulted in massive losses to these programs. In response, the rules for these programs were strengthened even further. If a loan originator fails to adhere to the underwriting standards, claims for insurance and the sale of the loan to the government are fraudulent. Lenders are required to self-audit their loan files, and, if defects are found, the lenders have an affirmative duty to report those defects to the government. Failure to do so, while certifying compliance, is also fraud on the government.