The federal False Claims Act (F.C.A.) creates liability for any person who knowingly submits or causes another person to submit a false claim to the government to get a false claim paid by the government. Violations of the F.C.A. come with a civil penalty of between $10,957 to $21,916 for each false claim and three times the amount of the government’s damages.
The F.C.A. includes a whistleblower, or “qui tam,” provision that provides whistleblowers with a financial reward for successful F.C.A. lawsuits. The F.C.A. allows for whistleblower rewards between 15 percent and 25 percent of the amount recovered, which can be significant when millions of dollars are recovered because of false claims.
The Department of Justice recently announced that it recovered $2.8 billion dollars through federal False Claims Act cases. Of the $2.8 billion in settlements and judgments recovered by the Department of Justice this past fiscal year, $2.5 billion involved the healthcare industry, including drug and medical device manufacturers, managed care providers, hospitals, pharmacies, hospice organizations, laboratories and physicians. It was the ninth consecutive year that the Department’s civil healthcare fraud settlements and judgments have exceeded $2 billion. The 2018 recoveries reflect only federal losses but, in many of these cases, the Department was instrumental in recovering additional millions of dollars for state Medicaid programs.
F.C.A. cases are filed confidentially in camera and under seal. The complaint and its contents must be kept confidential until the seal is lifted, and the complaint is not served on the defendant. This serves to protect both the whistleblower and the integrity of the D.O.J.’s investigation of the allegations.
Lebau & Neuworth, LLC, has a very active False Claims Act and whistleblower practice. We have several cases pending now and are working closely with U.S. Assistant Attorneys.
If you have information about potential false claims, including Medicare and defense contractor fraud, the attorneys at Lebau & Neuworth may be able to help, as we are experienced with FCA claims. For more information, contact us at 888-456-2529 or lebauneuworth.com/contact-us.