The False Claims Act is a federal law that allows individuals who suspect that fraud is being committed against the Federal Government to bring whistleblower lawsuits, also known as qui tam actions, on the government’s behalf. The False Claims Act may provide protection against retaliation for reporting fraud and, if the claim is successful, the whistleblower is often entitled to receive a significant portion of the funds recovered by the government. In addition to the federal False Claims Act, many states, including Rhode Island and Massachusetts, have False Claims Acts that work to discourage frauds perpetrated against state governments.
False Claims Act litigation frequently involves federal or state government contractors and other businesses that defraud the government. False Claims Act claims typically involve:
- Price misrepresentations made in negotiation of federal or state contracts
- Fraudulent billing for services not rendered
- Filing false claims for goods not delivered
- Over-billing for services rendered
- False certification of compliance with product specifications/service specifications
In addition to qui tam whistleblowers, whistleblowers who provide information about tax fraud or tax underpayments to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may be eligible for a reward under the Tax Relief and Health Act of 2006. The IRS Whistleblower program offers monetary awards to individuals who provide “specific and credible” information to the IRS which results in the collection of at least $2 million in combined taxes, penalties, interest or other amounts from any noncompliant taxpayer. The IRS generally must pay to the whistleblower 15 to 30 percent of the entire amount ultimately collected. The whistleblower reward section of the IRS whistleblower law is modeled after the False Claim's Act qui tam provisions. IRS whistleblower's identities are kept confidential.
Whistleblowers who report wrongdoing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) may receive a reward if the SEC or CFTC recovers more than $1 million as a result of the whistleblower's information. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act, more commonly known as the Dodd-Frank Act, created the SEC and CFTC whistleblower reward program in 2010. Under the program, SEC and CFTC whistleblowers are entitled to job protection.
If you believe your employer is involved in fraud against the government, you may have grounds for a qui tam case under the federal or state False Claims Act. Likewise, if you have information about wrongdoing against the IRS, SEC or CFTC, you may be eligible for a reward under the IRS, SEC or CFTC whistleblower programs. Renner Law can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process.
Renner Law serves False Claims Act, Tax & SEC/CFTC Whistleblower clients throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts from its Providence, Rhode Island offices. Call (401) 404-5251 or contact Renner Law online today.