Who Can Be a False Claims Act Whistleblower?
August 13, 2014
Last year, the U. S. Department of Justice collected $3.8 billion from suits under the False Claims Act. Whistleblower suits represented the major portion – $2.9 billion – of that recovery. The DOJ opened 846 new False Claims Act cases in 2013, the majority of which (753) were whistleblower suits.
In a False Claims Act whistleblower lawsuit, a whistleblower, called a relator, files suit against an individual, a company or both. Because the suit, called a qui tam suit, must be filed under seal you won’t know that it has been filed. During the investigation the relator may still be working for you, secretly taping conversations or business meetings.
The relator has a huge financial incentive. The False Claims Act provides relators 15-30 percent of the government’s recovery, and in recent cases, the United States has paid relators as much as $100 million. In 2013, the United States recovered $2.9 billion in relator False Claims Act lawsuits, from which it paid relators $387 million.
If you do business with the government, have systems in place to insure that you are complying with contractual, statutory and regulatory requirements. If you are a government contractor, depending on the type and value of the contract, the regulations and contract provisions could include mandatory compliance requirements. A good compliance program includes written policies and procedures, the input of compliance professionals, effective training and communication, internal monitoring and audits, proper enforcement of standards, and prompt response.
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