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If a person learns that his or her employer is defrauding the federal government, that individual may express some hesitation about reporting the illegal activity purely out of fear of the possible repercussions for his or her own career. People who provide information that exposes illegal activities by companies or individuals are referred to as "whistleblowers."
The United States Department of Labor notes that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of more than 20 whistleblower statutes protecting employees who report violations of various laws. Whistleblowers can be entitled to a share of the damages collected by the government, and may be entitled to additional damages for any employer retaliation.
Do you think that your employer or another business is defrauding the federal government? You will want to immediately contact Ciccarelli Law Offices.
Our experienced whistleblower attorneys in West Chester represent clients in communities throughout Montgomery County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, Chester County, and the greater Philadelphia area. You can have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (610) 719-3190 to receive a free initial consultation.
The False Claims Act (FCA) under 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 – 3733 imposes liability on persons and companies who defraud the federal government. The FCA also establishes the rights of parties to "qui tam" actions, with qui tam being an abbreviation of the Latin phrase "qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur," which means, "he who sues in this matter for the king as well as for himself."
Under 31 U.S. Code § 3729(a)(1), a person is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of at least $5,000 up to $10,000 plus three times the amount of damages which the government sustains because of the act of that person if he or she commits any of the following acts:
31 U.S. Code § 3730(h)(1) provides that any employee, contractor, or agent is entitled to all relief necessary to make that him or her "whole," if that person is discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment because of his or her lawful acts in furtherance of a qui tam action or other efforts to stop one or more violations of the FCA. Under 31 U.S. Code § 3730(h)(2), relief may include reinstatement with the same seniority status that employee, contractor, or agent would have had but for the discrimination, two times the amount of back pay, interest on the back pay, and compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the discrimination, including litigation costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.
A whistleblower in an FCA cases may also be entitled to a financial reward if the qui tam lawsuit is successful. Rewards may be up to 30 percent but typically between 15 and 25 percent of the amount recovered.
When a person files a qui tam action, the government will typically pursue an FCA case when the acts involved constitute healthcare fraud, financial industry fraud, defense contractor fraud, grant fraud, tax fraud, or securities fraud. Some of the most common types of government fraud include, but are not limited to:
An Introduction to Whistleblower/Qui Tam Claims | Young Lawyers Division — The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD) is the largest young lawyer organization in the world, with more than 150,000 members and 300 affiliated groups. View the full text of an ABA YLD article discussing whistleblower claims and qui tam actions. The article provides an overview of Federal and State False Claims Acts as well as tax fraud and securities fraud.
The False Claims Act (FCA) | Department of Justice (DOJ) — View the full text of the FCA, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 – 3733. You can also read a DOJ primer that explains "the most significant elements of the FCA to give one new to the statute an introductory understanding of the FCA and how it works." Learn more about the knowledge requirement, definition of a claim, and qui tam provisions.
If you think that you might have a possible whistleblower claim in southeastern Pennsylvania, you will want to make sure to retain legal counsel for help filing a qui tam action. Ciccarelli Law Offices assists whistleblowers in areas in and around Kennett Square, Philadelphia, Springfield, Malvern, King of Prussia, Plymouth Square, Lancaster, and Radnor.
Our West Chester whistleblower lawyers represent individuals on a contingency fee basis, so you pay our firm nothing unless you obtain a financial award. Call (610) 719-3190 or submit an online contact form to have our attorneys review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free, no obligation consultation.