The False Claims Act (FCA) allows an individual to file a lawsuit under seal for potentially several months or even years until the government decides whether it wants to intervene in a case. The False Claims Act forbids employers from retaliating or threatening employees for reporting fraud to the government. In a whistleblower’s lawsuit, the individual who uncovers the fraud may receive 15-25% of the government’s recovery for stepping forward and telling the truth. The False Claims Act was created to allow taxpayer’s to speak out against fraud being committed on the government. Remember the Matt Damon role in the 2009 movie, “The Informant!”
Some states, including Illinois, have versions of the False Claims Act. Most of the fraudulent schemes that are uncovered by employees or former employees are complex with intricate details of the fraud being known only to a few. It is not a requirement that the whistleblower be an employee of the company defrauding the government.
Whistleblowers are individuals with courage and integrity. They need courage to stand up against the wrongdoing or fraud on the government. The report of the illegal acts often lead to retaliation.
The origin of whistleblower lawsuits can be traced back to the time of the American Civil War. It was found then that companies that were supplying goods and services to the Union Army were cheating the government. In some cases these companies were delivering faulty ammunition and guns, poorly made uniforms and spoiled food. It was President Lincoln who put together the plan to hold these companies accountable who were committing fraud on the government by rewarding whistleblowers a reward for coming forward. The False Claims Act was originally enacted into law in 1863 as a device to weed out fraud against the government and encourage individuals to come forward with that information.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) also has a whistleblower program that can result in payoffs for those reporting fraud. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) created a whistleblower program under the CFTC. The whistleblower program creates confidentiality, employee protection and financial rewards. The CFTC whistleblower program has even a stronger confidentiality protection statute than the False Claims Act. The whistleblowers under the CFTC remain anonymous if they are represented by an attorney. The whistleblower remains anonymous to the CFTC until they receive their financial reward. Another protection under that act is that employees who act to blow the whistle cannot be fired, demoted, threatened, harassed, discriminated against or suspended for being a whistleblower.
As under the False Claims Act, the CFTC awards monies to whistleblower with more than $1 million as collected.
If you or a loved one have knowledge of fraud on the government contact Kreisman Law Offices 24 hours a day at 312.346.0045 or toll free 800.583.8002 for a free and immediate consultation, or complete a contact form online. We are here to assist you and your family so that responsible parties are held accountable. With over 40 years of experience, we have the know-how to best handle these cases. Our service is unmatched.