The False Claims Act (“FCA”) is a law that imposes liability on people who defraud the federal government. In order to encourage people to report such fraud, the FCA provides financial incentives to reporters, who are also known as “whistleblowers.” Specifically, a whistleblower may be entitled to up 30% of all proceeds recovered in an FCA action. In order to determine whether you have a case under the FCA, you should consider the following questions:
Did a governmental entity lose money due to fraud?
As noted above, the purpose of the FCA is to help the federal government recover money. Typically, FCA cases involve money the government should have never paid, money that it overpaid, or money that was withheld from it. If the conduct you want to report doesn’t involve a monetary loss to the government, you can’t file a claim under the FCA.
Is information about the fraud publicly available?
The FCA is designed to encourage whistleblowers to report instances of fraud that would otherwise go undetected. Therefore, if you know of an instance of fraud that has already been publicly disclosed, you can’t use this information to initiate an FCA case. An exception to this is if you have additional information about a previously disclosed instance of fraud. If your new information aids in the recovery of government funds, then you may still be able to recover under the FCA.
Do you have reliable information about the fraud?
A majority of whistleblowers are former or current employees of the person or entity that committed the fraudulent act. However, this isn’t a requirement. Anyone who has specific knowledge of fraud against the government qualifies as a whistleblower under the FCA. Successful whistleblowers typically either observed the conduct or have access to documents that can prove the conduct occurred.
When did the fraud take place?
Usually, a whistleblower has six years to file a lawsuit under the FCA. In some cases, however, this deadline extends to ten years after the wrongful conduct occurred.
Has anyone else filed an FCA lawsuit based on the same information as yours?
The FCA is a “first-to-file” law, which essentially means that the first person with knowledge of fraud to file a lawsuit under the FCA is eligible for any resulting financial compensation. Therefore, if someone else has already filed an FCA lawsuit based on the same material facts that you wish to provide, you may be prevented from pursuing your case and receiving financial compensation.
Do you have an experienced attorney on your side?
If you have specific knowledge of fraud against the U.S. government, you may be entitled to financial compensation. However, due to the time restrictions described above, you must act fast. Therefore, if you have information that may help the government recover funds that were obtained via fraud, please contact our False Claims Act attorney today to give yourself the best opportunity of receiving financial compensation.