False Claims Act
The False Claims Act (FCA) provides protection for whistleblowers who expose employers that are committing fraud against the government. Although there is strong protection against retaliation available for whistleblowers under the FCA, there are complicated aspects to these claims. It is important to consult an experienced New York City whistleblower lawyer if you are interested in pursuing remedies under the False Claims Act. Phillips & Associates provides strong, aggressive legal representation to whistleblowers.Qui Tam Actions Under the False Claims Act
You can bring a qui tam action that arises under the False Claims Act if you have proof of someone's fraudulent activity against the federal government. For example, if you work for a hospital and know that your employer is making false claims to Medicare, this is a potential False Claims Act case. The qui tam action is brought against the party defrauding the government. The government is allowed to intervene in your qui tam action, and it can join it. However, even if the government decides not to intervene or join, you can still go forward by yourself.
Initially, you file a qui tam action in camera and under seal in federal district court. You must serve a copy of the complaint and evidence on the U.S. Attorney General as well as the U.S. Attorney for the district where you are filing. The defendant (the wrongdoer) does not get a copy of the complaint. If you violate the seal before it is lifted, your complaint is at risk of dismissal.
There are many different types of conduct that constitute a false claim under the law. You can bring a qui tam action against a wrongdoer who knowingly presents any fraudulent claim to the federal government seeking payment. You could also bring a qui tam action against a wrongdoer who knowingly uses false records to get the federal government to pay. A qui tam action would also be appropriate when the defendant is conspiring to get false claims paid by the federal government or when the defendant is knowingly using a false record to conceal its obligations to pay the federal government. However, you cannot file a qui tam action if the government or someone else has already sued under the FCA based on the same evidence.
Under the FCA, you must file a qui tam action either within 6 years from the date of the FCA violation or within 3 years after the government knew or should have known about the FCA violation, but definitely not more than a decade after the violation. This timeline may be complicated if there are multiple issues, such as circumstances that also implicate the Dodd-Frank or Sarbanes-Oxley Acts.Rewards and Protections Against Retaliation
Anyone who violates the FCA can be held liable for triple the amount of the fraud. The wrongdoer may be penalized with civil penalties of $5,000-$10,000 for each false claim. As a whistleblower, you can get 15-30% of the total recovery from the defendant, whether the case is favorably settled or adjudicated.
As with the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Acts, there are anti-retaliation provisions to protect you if you are an employee bringing a qui tam action or taking lawful steps to proceed with this type of action. The FCA prohibits the termination, demotion, harassment, or other adverse treatment of a whistleblower. You are entitled to any relief needed to make you whole, including reinstatement, back pay, and special damages. The statute of limitations is different for filing a retaliation case under the FCA than for a qui tam action.Contact a Skillful Whistleblower Attorney in New York City
An experienced attorney can file a qui tam action on your behalf and pursue damages if you have been subjected to retaliation. If you are concerned about a False Claims Act case, you should consult an experienced employment litigator in New York City. Contact Phillips & Associates at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form for a free appointment. We handle employment litigation in the boroughs of the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan; the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester; as well as New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
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