Any person can use the False Claims Act’s qui tam provision. It means an employee, worker or contractor can file a case on behalf of the government as long as they have evidence of fraud linked to federal contracts or programs.
However, how can you spot violations if you do not know how they look? Here are five examples of False Claims Act violations:
- False government loan applications
- Fraudulent requests for government funds
- Payment demands or requests that go against contracts or regulations
- Overcharging government offices
- False claims that a defendant complied with a law, rule or contract obligation
However, you cannot file a lawsuit for these violations if the government or another party has already filed one with the same evidence.
Provisions for whistleblower protection
Additionally, this policy has provisions to protect whistleblowers from retaliation. If they were dismissed, harassed or discriminated against because of their actions, they could file a retaliation case to receive the following:
- Reinstatement to their job
- Doubled back pay
- Compensation for lawsuit-related damages, such as lawyer fees and litigation costs
Restrictions can change per state because of varying employment laws for wrongful dismissal or retaliation. In Connecticut, a whistleblower must file a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) Chief Human Rights Referee within 90 days of the retaliation incident.
Penalties for violators
People who violate the False Claims Act might face fines costing three times the total amount they defrauded. In addition, they also need to pay civil penalties, varying from $10,781 to $21,563 per false claim.
The qui tam whistleblower or relator can also receive a percentage of the total amount recovered from the violator, ranging from 15% to 30%. However, eligibility to receive money depends on the amount’s retrieval. The government must recover it through your lawsuit for you to become eligible.