In 2017, the Department of Justice obtained more than $3.7 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving fraud and false claims against the government. Many of these cases are initiated by a Whistleblower – often referred to as a qui tam Relator – who files a lawsuit in order to expose a company’s fraudulent practices.
There are many types of Whistleblower cases, but most fall into three categories: (1) healthcare and pharmaceutical fraud; (2) defense/government contractor fraud; and (3) financial industry fraud.
Fraud against the government can take on many forms, including:
- Taking kickbacks in exchange for referring patients for certain services or prescribing certain medications, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute;
- Prohibited physician self-referrals in violation of Stark Law;
- Billing Medicare and Medicaid for phantom patients, services that were not rendered or services that were not medically necessary;
- Billing the government for products for which cheaper/inferior parts were used;
- Delivering goods in violation of inspection, testing or other technical requirements;
- False certification of regulatory and statutory compliance;
- Making false claims in connection with securing a loan from the Federal Housing Authority; and
- Bribery of foreign officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
If you suspect a company is committing fraud against the government, you should strongly consider retaining an attorney to file a Whistleblower lawsuit on your behalf. Whistleblower claims filed under the False Claims Act have resulted in substantial recoveries for the United States and the Whistleblowers. Under the False Claims Act, the Whistleblower is entitled to a share of the recovery in the amount of 15-25% of the settlement or judgment.
The Whistleblower lawsuit is filed under seal, and remains under seal while the appropriate state and federal agencies investigate your claims. This means your name will be concealed during the investigative process and will not be made public unless the government elects to intervene and pursue the litigation, or you decide to pursue the suit on your own if the government fails to intervene. State and federal governments have the option of intervening in Whistleblower lawsuits and prosecuting your claims by utilizing government resources. Should these agencies decline to intervene in your Whistleblower case, you have the option of continuing the lawsuit with private counsel.
The importance of counsel with Whistleblower experience cannot be overstated. Sumner Schick attorneys, who have represented both individuals as plaintiffs and companies as defendants, have proven experience and a deep understanding of all aspects of qui tam law and procedure. Sumner Schick has obtained millions of dollars for its Whistleblower clients.