The Department of Justice recently announced that in Fiscal Year 2015 it collected more than $3.5 billion in settlements involving fraud and false claims against the government. Cases initiated by whistleblowers brought in more than 80 percent, or $2.91 billion, of the total recovery.
“The False Claims Act has again proven to be the government’s most effective civil tool to ferret out fraud and return billions to taxpayer-funded programs,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Mizer in a Dec. 3, 2015, press release. “The recoveries announced today help preserve the integrity of the vital government programs that provide health care to the elderly and low income families, ensure our national security and defense, and enable countless Americans to purchase homes.”
The False Claims Act is the government’s primary civil remedy to redress fraud against the federal government. The False Claims Act has been applied to government programs as varied as health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, national security and defense contracts, federally insured loans and mortgages, highway funds, research grants, agricultural supports, school lunches, and disaster assistance.
“The potential for fraud exists wherever federal funds are involved,” said Beasley Allen Principal Archie Grubb. “We have successfully handled cases involving many types of fraud against the government, including schemes involving federal health care programs, federal student loan funds, and national security contracts.”
Most False Claims Act cases are filed under the Act’s whistleblower, or qui tam, provision that allows individuals with knowledge of fraud involving federal funds to file lawsuits to recover money on behalf of the government. If the case is successful, the whistleblower may receive up to 30 percent of the total recovery. Department of Justice statistics show that whistleblowers received more than $597 million for their role in uncovering fraud against the federal government.
Health care fraud accounted for more than two-thirds of the money recovered in whistleblower cases in 2015, with recoveries related to banking and mortgage fraud coming in a distant second. Money was also recovered in cases involving defense contracts and for-profit education.
“Beasley Allen has the expertise and resources to investigate, file, and litigate whistleblower cases,” said Grubb. “We are sensitive to the stressful situation that many whistleblowers find themselves in and, in keeping with our firm’s mission over the past 35 years, we are here to help.”
Are you aware of fraud being committed against the federal government, or a state government? If so, the False Claims Act can protect 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 consultation.