In the previously published Part One of this FAQ (link provided below), we looked at the False Claims Act (“FCA” or “the Act”) and discussed its coverage and enforcement. This concluding section of the two-part series focuses on the role of whistleblowers in False Claims Act cases and how our False Claims Act whistleblowers’ attorney can help these honest people step forward to join the fight against fraud.
- What happens after I file a whistleblower’s lawsuit?
Qui tam lawsuits (the legal term for suits filed by private citizens on the government’s behalf) under the FCA are filed under seal which essentially means they are kept secret. The claim and a written disclosure of the information on which it is based must be served on the appropriate U.S. Attorney and the Attorney General. From the time of filing, the government has 60 days to investigate the claim, although it can (and often does) ask for an extension if necessary. Notably, the defendant is not informed until this investigation is complete.
After the investigation, the government decides whether it will intervene in the suit. If the government does intervene, the government takes over the prosecution. Many studies show the chances of a victory for the plaintiff rises if the government intervenes. If the government does not intervene, the original plaintiff can proceed with the case. With the right claim, our firm continues to supports plaintiffs in either instance.
- Will I be compensated for my role in an FCA case?
Yes, assuming the suit is successful and all other requirements are met.
If the government recovers money via settlement of verdict, the FCA’s civil action provisions entitle the realtor to a portion of the recovery. In cases where the government intervenes, the award is between 15% and 25% of the government’s recovery. In cases where the government does not intervene, the realtor’s award increases to between 25% and 30%. Under the FCA, the government’s recovery may be triple the amount of money it paid on the false claim and may also include a per claim penalty that can add up quickly.
In order to recover this award, the individual must have filed a qui tam claim. Merely informing the government of fraud does not trigger the potential reward. Of course, financial awards are in addition to the knowledge that the realtor helped to stop fraud, protect the government and government programs, and advocate for all taxpayers.
Notably, if the realtor played a role in the fraud, the realtor’s award may be reduced to take this into account. This is not necessarily a total bar to recovery unless the individual incurs a criminal conviction for involvement in filing a false claim.
- Am I protected from retaliation by my employer if I file a claim?
Yes. Section (h) of the Act specifically prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for any efforts, including the filing of a qui tam claim, to stop any actions in violation of the FCA.
- Why should I choose The Brod Law Firm?
We offer the sophistication of a firm that understands the complex nuances of the FCA with the personal attention of a small firm that ensures you do not get lost in the shuffle. While we are based in Northern California, we are able to handle cases across the country. We are able to partner with other firms and we have access to additional staffing resources as needed to handle large volumes of discovery or other portions of the case that require added attorney and/or paralegal support.
- What will it cost me to hire The Brod Law Firm?
In the vast majority of cases, we do not require any upfront fee. We typically operate on a contingent fee meaning we receive a portion of any award to the plaintiff and there is no fee if the plaintiff does not recover money. If the case is successful, our expenses will be typically be reimbursed by the defendant.
The Brod Law Firm: A False Claims Act Law Firm Supporting Whistleblowers Fighting for Justice
If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact our government fraud law firm at (800) 427-7020.
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(Gavel image by Bruce Bortin)