The False Claims Act is a law that allows individuals to bring lawsuits against corporations or persons who are defrauding the government out of money. The law was enacted by President Lincoln in 1863 out of anger towards companies that had knowingly sold the government defective weapons and spoiled food during the Civil War.
The purpose of the False Claims Act has not changed since President Lincoln’s time: recover taxpayer funds wrongly paid to companies and punish companies who defraud the government.
Types of Conduct the False Claims Act Covers
Generally, the False Claims Act covers two types of conduct:
- Where a company misrepresents or lies to the government about the company’s qualifications, or goods or services the company provides, and the misrepresentation(s) or lie(s) are important to the government’s decision to pay the company money.
- Where a company misrepresents or lies to the government to reduce an amount the company owes to the government
Who Can Recover Under the False Claims Act
For a person to recover under the False Claims Act, a person must have non-public information about one of the two types of conduct. This person, referred to as a “Relator” because he or she is “relating” original information to the government, cannot base his knowledge on public sources, such as the internet or documents obtained via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
A False Claims Act case filed by a Relator, also known as a “Qui Tam” case, is filed under seal for at least 60 days. This means that the case is filed without anyone except the Court and the government, knowing about it for at least 60 days. This allows the government to investigate the case without the contractor knowing about it. The government has the option to extend the seal period with permission from the court. After the government completes its investigation, the government may elect to “intervene” or pursue the case with Relator’s attorneys. If the government does not intervene in the case, the Relator may proceed with the case. Depending on whether the government intervenes or not, Relators received between 15% and 30% of the money the government recovers.
Violations of the False Claims Act have been found across a broad spectrum of industries, including:
- Government Contracts
- Financial Aid
- Pharmaceutical Industry
Contact a False Claims Act Lawyer Today
Lambert Zainey has represented Relators across the country—peoples who refused to shut their eyes to government contractor fraud. If you or a loved one known of any conduct covered by the False Claims Act, it is important that you have experienced legal representation to help you through the complex False Claims Act process and to protect your legal rights. The whistleblower attorneys at the Lambert Firm can do this for you. Contact Lambert Zainey today.