Do you have evidence of fraud in contracts that involve the government? Perhaps you know a company that bills for services or products that were never delivered? Maybe a health care company bills for tests that were not authorized or for prescription drugs when generic prescriptions could be used? Perhaps the government is being charged for employees who did not work or are double-billing?
In Nashville, some of the biggest lawsuits that are filed are filed under something called the False Claims Act. The False Claims Act (FCA) is basically a federal whistleblower law where individuals bring to light companies that are defrauding the government. One of the reasons that suits are brought in Nashville is because of the many Nashville companies that are in the health care industry---and industry very susceptible to such claims. The FCA gives the whistleblower a change to bring a civil action known as a qui tam action. This whistleblower is called a “relator.” If a successful action is brought by a relator, that person is usually entitled to a reward between fifteen and thirty percent to the amount the company is forced to pay. If the company is forced to pay $1,000,000 for instance, the relator could be awarded between $150,000 and $300,000. If the company is forced to pay ten million dollars (which is far from unheard of), the individual could make between 1.5 and 3 million dollars.
Unlike other whistleblower actions, the False Claims Act involves the government.
Any individual or entity can file a False Claims Act claim if they have evidence of fraud in government contracts. Other than the previously mentioned areas, claims under the FCA are often brought in the following arenas:
- Submitting false records
- Performing unnecessary procedures
- Billing for A-rated equipment when lesser equipment was used
- Providing false certifications
- Charging for employees who did not work or falsifying time sheets
- Failing to report overpayments
- Undervaluing goods to avoid import or export fees
- Using defective products
If there is another private claim or an existing government claim, then the new claim will not be allowed. The claimant must employ an attorney to file the claim.
Once a claim is filed, it is filed under seal so that the government has time to review it before they notify the company accused of the fraud. If the government decides not to intervene in the case, they a direct claim can be brought against the company who committed the fraud. If someone who brings a claim under the False Claims Act is retaliated against in any manner---be it being fired, demoted, harassed, etc.---they a separate suit may be brought against the employer. Remedies include reinstatement, double back pay, and legal fees.
The False Claims Act includes a whole host of areas, including:
- Medicare fraud
- Medical device and drug fraud
- Defense fraud
- Information technology fraud
- Other types of government contract fraud include the transportation and agriculture sectors
- Fraud involving disaster relief agencies such as FEMA can also give rise to a qui tam claim.
Bigelow Legal, P.C. protects those whose rights are covered under the False Claims Act in Nashville and across Tennessee. We aggressively fight to hold those who commit fraud accountable, protect your employment status, fight for your if you are retaliated against, and to get you all the work benefits and government awards you deserve. To review your case with an Nashville Qui Tam lawyer at 615-800-6966.