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If you have information that your employer has committed a fraud against the government you may have a claim under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733. False Claims Act (FCA) covers all fraudulent attempts to cause the government to pay out sums of money and prohibits the knowing submission of false or fraudulent claims to the federal government; one example of a false claim under the FCA is a false invoice or bill for goods or services.

 

QUI TAM

 

The FCA contains a provision that permits a "Whistle Blower" or "Relator" with knowledge of a fraud to bring a lawsuit to recover government funds that were fraudulently obtained. In return the Relator may receive a portion of the funds typically 15% to 23% or more. More than one billion dollars has been paid out to Relators under the FCA. The amounts paid range from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions.

 

The purpose of False Claims Act is to discourage fraud against the government, and the purpose of the qui tam provisions of Act is to encourage those with knowledge of fraud to come forward. The types of fraud covered by the FCA are so diverse and varied it is not possible to describe them all or even contemplate the variety of ways in which false statements and claims have been used to obtain government money. Often the cases involve defense contractors or some federally funded program such as Medicaid or Medicare. Here are just a few examples:

 

A contractor's false certification that its workers have been paid the prevailing wage rate required by the Davis-Bacon Act may give rise to liability under the False Claims Act (FCA).

 

Home health aide service providers who violated Medicare cost reporting rules are held liable, under the False Claims Act (FCA),

 

Claims under the False Claims Act (FCA) also include creating a false record to avoid or decrease an obligation to the federal government. For example the government contract required that certified welders be used to perform the work and the contractor falsified workers certifications to avoid the obligation.

 

Bid-rigging schemes, in which contractors who are supposed to compete against each other to submit the lowest bid, conspired to artificially fix the low bid as well as the bidder who is awarded the contract. This is a fraudulent course of conduct that can give rise to a False Claims Act violation (FCA).

 

Owners of a medical services company routinely provided medical services for which they submitted claims for reimbursement to Medicare. They violated the Anti-Kickback Statute by paying kickbacks to pharmacists and others which were camouflaged as rental payments or commissions. The owners falsely certified that they had complied with the Anti-Kickback Statute, which was a condition of receiving reimbursement from the Medicare program. These actions state a claim against the owners under the False Claims Act (FCA).

 

A damages award based on full contract price of brake shoes supplied by government contractor was proper, in an action under False Claims Act (FCA) alleging that contractor sought payment for required brake shoes without performing required production testing, because government received no value under contract.

 

An allegation that nursing home sought Medicare and Medicaid payments for care of its residents when it was so severely understaffed that it could not have possibly administered all of care that it was obligated to perform to obtain such payments, stated a claim under False Claims Act (FCA).

 

If you believe that you may have information of a fraud against the government by your employer please contact us so that we may evaluate potential litigation and discuss your options with you. It is essential that you obtain legal advice before you confront your employer or notify them of your refusal to play a role in the illegal activity. If you do not seek legal advice first you may find that your internal complaint is used to concoct a legitimate reason to terminate your employment and conceal an illegal motive.

 

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