If you have uncovered evidence that your employer is defrauding the government, we understand that you may be reluctant to come forward with what you know. It is common for employees to fear retaliation from their employer and damage to their own reputation by being labeled a whistleblower. We recognize that doing the right thing isn’t always doing the easy thing. Standing up for what is right can be difficult. Depending on the circumstances, it may also carry consequences for the person who, by all accounts, should be considered a hero. That’s why it takes courage to come forward and report companies or employers who are defrauding the federal government. These people are known as “whistleblowers” and they play a critical role in making sure that companies are playing by the rules.
The New Jersey False Claims Act/Whistleblower attorneys at The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C. want you to know that coming forward benefits the public good, the government, and perhaps even other employees. The government also offers substantial incentives and legal protections to those who come forward with reliable information. However, there are important steps that must be followed in filing a claim under the False Claims Act. The person who reports the fraud must do so through a lawsuit filed through an attorney. The lawsuit must be the first to bring the allegations of fraud. If another person files a lawsuit that contains the same or similar allegations of fraud, your case can be dismissed. Do not discuss the allegations or report the allegations to anyone other than your attorney. Public disclosures of your allegations can be harmful to your claims.
At The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C., we are dedicated to helping employees hold businesses accountable for defrauding the government. If you have important information, share it with an experienced New Jersey lawyer. Contact us today at (856) 817-6221 to schedule your free and confidential consultation.
What is the False Claims Act?
The original False Claims Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Its original aim was to incentivize people to come forward with information about military contracting fraud during the Civil War. It has evolved over the years and been amended to become the predominant law pertaining to protecting whistleblowers. The False Claims Act is designed to hold both individuals and businesses accountable when they engage in defrauding the government or engaging in violations of the law.
The False Claims Act also offers protections to whistleblowers who report waste, fraud, abuse, and public health and safety violations. These protections include preventing whistleblowers from being harassed, threatened, demoted, wrongfully terminated, or discriminated against in any way.
What Does “Qui Tam” Mean?
Qui tam literarily translates to “in the name of the king.” It is a provision under the False Claims Act that allows for whistleblowers with evidence of fraud or wrongdoing to sue the violator on behalf of the U.S. Government. The government is given the option to intervene and join the suit, but if the government declines, the whistleblower is allowed to proceed with the case on their own.
Since it is an extremely difficult decision to come forward with information on fraud or legal violations for fear of retaliation, the False Claims Act includes financial incentives for whistleblowers. Those who choose to come forward with their information and pursue a case against a wrongdoer are entitled to a share of the financial recovery from a successful case. That could be anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of the total amount of damages recovered and there is no cap on the amount of damages that you may receive.
The 15 to 30 percent of the total amount of damages recovered from a False Claims Act is not a drop in the bucket. Depending on your information and the type of company or business that is engaging in wrongdoing, compensation for whistleblowers may be enormous. This is due in part, thanks to changes made to the FCA in 1986, which amended the law to increase damages significantly for these types of cases. This was done to encourage more whistleblowers to come forward.
In the decades following 1986, whistleblowers have been responsible for 72 percent of the funds that have been recovered from fraud cases. Numbers from the Department of Justice show just how successful the FCA has been in getting people to talk about wrongdoing and fraud within companies, in 2019 alone the department recovered $3 billion. Of that $3 billion, whistleblowers contributed to over $2.1 billion in the form of lawsuits filed under the qui tam provisions of the FCA.
What Constitutes Fraud or Legal Violations Under the FCA?
This isn’t about your boss taking home office supplies hoping no one will notice, the FCA is meant to protect the federal government and taxpayers from gross fraud and legal violations that may pose a significant risk to public health and safety or that attempt to defraud the government.
Fraud can occur in nearly any type of industry that conducts business today, it is not limited to giant corporations or financial institutions. Smaller businesses also have the potential to defraud the government at great cost to both the federal government and to hard-working taxpayers. Some of the more common violations that can trigger an FCA complaint include:
- Charging the government for more than what was promised or delivered
- Delivering goods that were defective or of a lesser quality than what was promised
- Fraudulently seeking out a government contract for business
- Submitting false applications for a government loan or program
- Submitting false applications for a federal grant
- Submitting false applications for federal student loans
- Purposely submitting incorrect bills or charges healthcare
- Submitting paperwork and claims that falsely certify that an organization is complying with laws, contract terms, or federal regulations
- Knowingly purchasing government property from an unauthorized seller
The majority of these types’ violations fall into these categories of fraud:
- Medicare fraud
- Medicaid fraud
- Healthcare fraud
- Environmental fraud
- Construction fraud
- Federal crop insurance fraud
- Federal student loan fraud
- Defense contractor fraud
- S. Postal Service fraud
While this list is extensive, it is not the sum total of all actions that could be considered fraud by the federal government. Any type of violation of laws and regulations, gross waste of funds, mismanagement, or danger to the public may be covered by the False Claims Act.
If you suspect your employer of wrongdoing contact the experienced legal team of The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C. We can review the evidence and your case and give you the legal advice you need to determine your next move.
Is There a Time Limit to Filing a Claim?
Yes. The False Claims Act does have a statute of limitations. While it may be difficult if you have information about wrongdoing you need to come forward as soon as possible. Under the False Claims Act, legal action must be taken within at least six years from the date of the violation, or three years after the government knows or should have known about the violation. That means that in total, no more than 10 years can have passed after the violation took place.
If it seems complicated, that’s because it is. False Claims Act cases can be notoriously difficult and complex. Waiting to file a suit only gives the wrongdoer more time to hide or destroy evidence or continue on their path of fraudulent behavior. Either scenario can be devastating for the government and hardworking American taxpayers.
Companies shouldn’t be in the business of profiting off of the government through fraudulent means. That’s why it is so important that whistleblowers come forward in a timely manner and help hold them accountable.
Why You Need an Experienced Whistleblowing Attorney on Your Side
Cases of wrongdoing on this magnitude are often very complicated. They require extensive investigation and an immense amount of resources. Add to that the very real possibility that if you are an employee of the company accused of fraud, you may find yourself on the receiving end of harassment, hostility, or some form of retaliation.
Not only will an experienced New Jersey legal team have the power and the resources to build a strong and compelling case against the wrongdoer, but they will also have the ability to protect your best interests as the case moves through the court system. This is definitely not the time to try to go it alone, you need a team that can evaluate your evidence, build a solid legal strategy, get the federal government on your side, and obtain the maximum amount of whistleblower compensation.
Experience and determination are the hallmarks of a skilled legal team. At The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks P.C., we have centered our entire practice around protecting the rights of workers. We advocate for employees like you by shielding you from discrimination and adverse actions from your employer.
You are doing the right thing by coming forward with your claims of fraud;, we won’t let anyone intimidate you or harass you for having the courage to stand up to corruption. If you believe that you have information about actions that could violate the False Claims Act, contact The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks P.C today.
Contact The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C. For Help
Your silence is valuable to a corrupt company that is defrauding the government and its people. Your voice is powerful and can hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions. While we understand you may be anxious to come forward, you may be the key to stopping fraud committed against the government.
Since you’ve done your part to protect your fellow taxpayers, let the experienced New Jersey employment attorneys at The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C. protect you. Contact us at (856) 817-6221 or reach out to us right away to schedule a free and 100% confidential consultation with a knowledgeable whistleblower attorney.