Whistleblower and Qui Tam Actions
Protecting those who bravely expose fraud and corruption
The attorneys of Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman, LLC are extremely knowledgeable about the language and application of the False Claims Act, and have a long record of success in representing whistleblowers.
The False Claims Act seeks to deter future fraud by providing for penalties of three times the amount of the fraud in addition to fines of $5,000 to $10,000 per violation. Since the Act was amended in 1986, the United States has collected over $7.5 billion in fines and penalties in False Claims Act cases. The False Claims Act, also known as qui tam action, allows people who have insider information of fraud against the government to file a suit to help stop the bad actor from defrauding the United States government.
The purpose of the False Claims Act is to encourage private individuals—sometimes referred to as whistleblowers—who are aware of fraud against the government to alert the government and minimize the drain on taxpayers' funds.
If the case is either settled or a judgment is rendered against the defendant, the whistleblower is entitled to up to 30 percent of the government's recovery as an award for coming forward. Moreover, the False Claims Act prohibits employers from retaliating against whistleblowers and allows whistleblowers who are retaliated against to sue for their damages.
Fraud can take many forms
The fraud against the United States can take many forms:
- Submitting false invoices for payment or delivering non-conforming goods to the government under a procurement contract
- Underreporting mineral lease royalties
- Falsifying environmental compliance documents
- Avoiding civil fines
RPWB, as part of its commitment to protecting the environment and seeking redress against polluters, has represented employees who have reported illegal dumping and discharging of oil and hazardous waste. Polluters who attempt to avoid civil and criminal liability by presenting false records to the government in order to conceal the violations are guilty of a "Reverse False Claim." Government contractors and leaseholders are required to comply with environmental laws and regulations, and the False Claims Act punishes companies who chose to profit from violating those laws.
RPWB believes the exposure of those making false claims to the government is a critical civic duty, and whistleblowers who bravely step forward deserve the best possible protection against retaliation.