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Whistleblower

Do you know of someone who is committing fraud against the government?

The Federal False Claims Act (FCA) or “Whistleblower Law” (31 USC §§3729 – 3733) gives ordinary citizens, who witness corruption first-hand, an opportunity to stop those individuals and companies, such as government contractors, from committing fraud against the government.  The majority of FCA defendant companies and organizations are health care companies, but there are also many claims against financial, energy, and military contractor companies. The individual citizens, who are often employee “whistleblowers” of the offending businesses and organizations, are allowed to file a legal action against any person or organization that knowingly submits or causes the submission of a false or fraudulent claim.  This type of legal action is known as a “qui tam” action and is filed by an individual “relator” on behalf of the government.

Why would I want to get involved if the fraud is only hurting the government?

Fraud ultimately hurts everyone by causing taxpayers to pay for items or services that were not needed or not even provided and often results in increased insurance premiums, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to help fight fraud.  The FCA is actually the federal government’s most used tool in fighting fraud because the person bringing the claim, known as a qui tam relator, can receive a percentage (15-30 depending upon whether the government intervenes) of the amount recovered if the action is successful.  Since the FCA provides that, when the qui tam action is successful, the defendant pay up to triple damages and penalties of $5,500 to $11,000 per claim plus a relator’s legal fees and expenses, these actions can be lucrative and well worth the relator’s time and effort in pursuing the claim.  Some 2017 examples of qui tam actions against health care companies include:

  • In August, 2017, Mylan (pharmaceutical company) agreed to pay $465 million to resolve FCA liability for underpaying EpiPen rebates.[1]
  • In December, a Dallas-based hospital agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle allegations of paying physicians kickbacks in the form advertisements in a number of local and regional publications, pay-per-click advertising campaigns, billboards, website upgrades, brochures, and business cards. [2]
  • In December, 2017, United Therapeutics Corporation agreed to pay $210 million to resolve allegations that it used a foundation as a conduit to pay the copays of Medicare patients taking their pulmonary arterial hypertension drugs. [3]

Why do I need an attorney to file a false claims case?

The FCA is a very technical law with a detailed process for filing a disclosure statement and pursuing these claims.  In fact, a qui tam complaint must be filed and remain under seal for at least 60 days while the government investigates and decides whether to intervene or participate in prosecuting the case.  Due to these strict legal requirements, the qui tam relator must be represented by an attorney.

Talk to a Whistleblower Lawyer

If you or your company requires a Fort Worth whistleblower lawyer, schedule a free consultation with Bruce Beasley at 817.338.1877, or you may email us by clicking the yellow “Email US” Tab.

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[1] See Press Release, Office of Pub. Affairs, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Mylan Agrees to Pay $465 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Liability for Underpaying EpiPen Rebates (Aug. 17, 2017), https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/mylan-agrees-pay-465-million-resolve-false-claims-act-liability-underpaying-epipen-rebates.

[2] See Press Release, Office of Pub. Affairs, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Dallas-Based Physician-Owned Hospital to Pay $7.5 Million to Settle Allegations of Paying Kickbacks to Physicians in Exchange for Surgical Referrals (Dec. 1, 2017), https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/dallas-based-physician-owned-hospital-pay-75-million-settle-allegations-paying-kickbacks.

[3] See Press Release, Office of Pub. Affairs, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Drug Maker United Therapeutics Agrees to Pay $210 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Liability for Paying Kickbacks (Dec. 20, 2017), https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/drug-maker-united-therapeutics-agrees-pay-210-million-resolve-false-claims-act-liability.