Whistleblowers helped the United States recover more than $4.7 billion in taxpayer funds in fiscal year 2016 (ending Sept. 30), according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) news release. This represents the third highest annual recovery in the history of the False Claims Act (FCA), the primary vehicle for federal whistleblower lawsuits. Whistleblowers in fiscal year 2016 were awarded $519 million for uncovering fraud.
Since 2009, whistleblowers have helped the United States recover a total of $31.3 billion, averaging almost $4 billion a year, under the False Claims Act. The largest areas of recovery have been health care fraud, and housing and mortgage fraud. During this period the government has recovered more than $19 billion from health care fraud actions and more than $7 billion related to housing and mortgage fraud.
Successful health care fraud cases included schemes for overbilling government health programs, falsely marketing the benefits of pharmaceutical products, paying kickbacks to health care providers by drug and device manufacturers, and overbilling in the hospice and home health industry. Other areas of recovery included fraud in defense contracting, for-profit education, various government contracts and grants, customs fraud, and fraud involving the storage of nuclear waste or dumping of environmental contaminants.
A whistleblower represented by Beasley Allen uncovered and stopped a multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud the federal government by a company paid to conduct background checks related to high-level security clearances. Other Beasley Allen whistleblowers successfully reported fraud related to the unlawful marketing of off-label drug products, kickbacks paid to physicians by big drug companies, and fraudulent procurement of federal student loan funds by a corrupt for-profit college.
The False Claims Act provides incentives for individuals to report fraud against the United States. These incentives include 15 to 30 percent of the funds recovered by the government, as well as protection against retaliation. Whistleblowing individuals typically have first-hand, inside information that is not publicly available and has not been previously revealed to the government by some other source. The monies recovered through the False Claims Act replenish the tax pool and deter others from committing fraud.
Said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer: “The beneficiaries of [the False Claims Act] include veterans, the elderly, and low-income families who are insured by federal health care programs; families and students who are able to afford homes and go to college thanks to federally insured loans; and all of us who are protected by the government’s investment in national security and defense. In short, Americans across the country are healthier, enjoy a better quality of life, and are safer because of our continuing success in protecting taxpayer funds from misuse.”
Are you aware of fraud being committed against the federal government, or a state government? If so, the FCA can protect and reward you for doing the right thing by reporting the fraud. If you have any questions about whether you qualify as a whistleblower, please contact an attorney at Beasley Allen for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim. There is a contact form on this website, or you may email one of the lawyers on our whistleblower litigation team: Archie Grubb, Larry Golston, Lance Gould or Andrew Brashier.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice