"Whistleblowers" Have Been Awarded Over $2.2 Billion for Reporting Fraud
Choosing the Right Whistleblower Attorney is the Most Important Step
Whistleblowers, often with the help of a whistleblower attorney, have been awarded over $2.2 billion for reporting various types of fraud against the government including Medicaid and Medicare fraud. As a result of their efforts, the United States Department of Justice has recovered over $34 billion under the False Claims Act since it was amended in 1986. Today, more than 80 percent of False Claims Act cases pursued by the U.S. Department of Justice are initiated by whistleblowers and are known as Qui Tam cases.
Whistleblowers, commonly represented by a whistleblower attorney, have been instrumental in bringing about recoveries worth billions of dollars to our treasury. For example, a major drug company recently paid $1 billion under the False Claims Act for an off-label marketing scheme. In another case, a company, which was committing healthcare billing fraud, paid $900 million for violations that include manipulation of outlier payments to Medicare, as well as kickbacks, upcoding, and bill padding.
The False Claims Act seeks to recover government funds wrongfully paid out to individuals, companies or agencies that submitted false claims or who made false certifications in bills, contracts or other government documents. Fraud against the government is most rampant in the Medicaid and Medicare programs, pharmaceutical and medical device industries, defense and military contracts, the construction industry, the mortgage industry and in colleges and universities receiving grants and funds from federal loan programs.
Whistleblowers, known as “relators” in False Claims Act cases, earn anywhere from 15% to 30% of the government’s recovery. The share of the recovery received by a particular relator depends on a number of factors including the amount and quality of the evidence he or she possesses, the overall value it adds to the case and whether the government elects to intervene in the case.
More than half of the U.S. states, including New York, and a growing number of municipalities, like New York City and Chicago, have their own False Claims Acts designed to combat fraud against government, especially Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) also has its own Whistleblower Program implemented under the Dodd-Frank Act, which permits recovery for financial, corporate and stock fraud. Whistleblowers with credible information concerning securities fraud, investment fraud, insider trading, stock fraud, and accounting fraud, are eligible to receive 10% to 30% of penalties of $1 million or more that the SEC collects in criminal or civil cases. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) also has a whistleblower program, which operates in a similar manner. In such cases, the legal help of an experienced CFTC or securities fraud attorney is highly recommended.
The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and New York State also have tax fraud whistleblower programs. Under the IRS Whistleblower Program, whistleblowers with proof that individuals or corporations have failed to pay taxes totaling $2 million or more, may qualify for an award of up to 15%-30% of the amount of money recovered by the government. To qualify as a whistleblower under the New York False Claims Act, you must demonstrate that a person or business making more than $1 million in annual net income has defrauded the State of New York of more than $350,000 by knowingly making a false claim.
The False Claims Act and most state and municipal False Claims Acts have anti-retaliation provisions which protect relators. Under the False Claims Act, a relator cannot be fired, suspended or demoted as a result of reporting fraud to the government. Any victim of such retaliation may receive job reinstatement, 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.
The whistleblower attorneys at Levy Phillips & Konigsberg LLP have the knowledge, experience, and passion to fight fraud against the government, while ensuring that your rights are protected. Our lawyers have a proven track record with recoveries that exceed $70 million. We have been recognized for our exceptional work by New York Magazine in its December 2011 Super Lawyers edition.
Our law firm handles cases nationwide and has offices throughout the U.S., including New York City, Upstate New York, New Jersey, and Georgia. We handle all of our whistleblower cases on a contingency fee basis.
If you believe you have evidence of fraud against the government, securities fraud or IRS tax fraud, contact us for a free consultation at our 24/7 hotline at 212-605-6200 or toll free at 1.888.FRAUD.USA (1.888.372.8387), or by submitting an email inquiry.