This last fiscal year (10/01/06 – 09/30/07), federal False Claims lawsuits (which I’ve previously written about here, here, and elsewhere) recovered over $2 billion in taxes through settlements and judgments, according to figures released last week by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Of this amount, $1.45 billion was recovered by False Claims lawsuits initiated by qui tam whistleblowers who themselves were awarded $177 million last year. These whistleblowers, known as “relators,” are offered special legal protections including anonymity during initial proceedings and anti-retaliation protections regardless of the district court’s judgment in the False Claims lawsuit.
Under the 1986 False Claims Act Amendment, relators are awarded 15% – 25% (and in some cases more) of the government’s recoveries. Corporations who knowingly defraud the federal government (“false claims“) are liable for up to thrice the government funds falsely billed plus $5,500 to $11,000 for each false claim. Since the passing of the 1986 amendment to the False Claims, over $20 billion has been recovered.
About half of the total federal recoveries are from Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The remaining portion of False Claims recoveries are from false billing to the federal government, whether the Department of Defense or other government entity. In recent years, Lockheed Martin, Conoco Phillips, PacifiCare Health Systems, OfficeMax, Oracle, and Hewlett-Packard have all been brought to court from qui tam relator’s whistleblowing.
In the 2006 fiscal year, federal qui tam relators were awarded over $190 million. Tennessee False Claims relators receive an even larger percentage of qui tam awards, usually between 25%-33% of the decision or settlement.
Contact HHP if you have information on Medicare/Medicaid or other false claims receiving federal or Tennessee state funds and wish to speak with a Nashville qui tam lawyer about taking action as a False Claims whistleblower.