The False Claims Act gives the federal government the authority to take action against those who bill the government inappropriately. There are thousands of businesses in medicine and railway infrastructure that routinely bill the government for services rendered, so it is essentially impossible for regulatory agencies to track and validate every single transaction.
Instead, the federal government relies on random transaction reviews and reports from employees at businesses for enforcement. Obviously, workers who report their employers for financial misconduct could endanger their careers. The government provides an incentive by compensating those who bring a qui tam claim on behalf of the government.
What would bringing a qui tam claim require from you?
You have to make a recorded statement
To initiate a qui tam claim against your employer, you will have to go on the record by making a recorded statement about your employer’s inappropriate billing practices. The lawsuit is originally sealed so that the government can investigate and decide whether to join your case. You can move forward with the case even if the government doesn’t join it.
Provided that your lawsuit leads to a successful claim, the government then reimburses you for your efforts by awarding you a percentage of the total amount awarded in the lawsuit. Often, your identity won’t be public knowledge in the early stages of a qui tam lawsuit.
However, once your employer receives notice of the lawsuit, they will potentially know your identity. Thankfully, whistleblower protections apply to you as someone taking action under the False Claims Act. Your employer cannot penalize you in any way for taking action about their inappropriate billing practices.
False claims made by railroad companies are a significant public safety concern
False billing claims made by healthcare providers drain the public coffers, but false claims made by companies working on or maintaining the railway infrastructure in the United States could be deadly.
If the government doesn’t have honest information about maintenance work and the condition of railway infrastructure, regulatory agencies could overlook crucial maintenance and repairs. Your employer could ultimately be at fault for any major incident that results because of its billing practices.
Speaking up when you know that your employer has billed for services they did not complete or otherwise violated the False Claims Act can help you protect the public and also the future of the company for which you work.