How it Works
- If you are thinking of reporting fraud, itâ€™s important for whistleblowers to step forward as quickly as possible. The first person to file a case under the False Claims Act for a particular fraud preempts all other cases. If the fraud is widespread, there is a good chance that other employees are witnessing it too. In addition, if information about the fraud becomes public before the case is filed, the case can be dismissed. It is also important to choose a law firm that is experienced in whistleblower (qui tam) lawsuits.
- The relator (whistleblower) files the lawsuit in federal court “under seal.â€ť This means the case is not available to the public and cannot be discussed with anyone except the government officials investigating the case. The seal initially lasts for 60 days but are often extended for one or two years while the government investigates.
- At the end of the sealed investigative period, the government decides whether to join, or intervene, in the qui tam lawsuit. If the government joins the case, the litigation is conducted jointly by the government and the whistleblowerâ€™s attorney, with the government as lead counsel. If the government declines to intervene, the relator may go forward with the lawsuit and assumes primary responsibility for running the case.
- The law stipulates that a liable defendant pay three times the governmentâ€™s losses plus a fine for each false claim. When settling a case, the government often agrees to forego the civil penalties and accepts two to three times the amount of damages suffered by the government. The defendant also must pay the fees and the case-related expenses of the whistleblowerâ€™s attorney.
Fees for Whistleblowers
The amount that the relator (whistleblower) can receive ranges from 15% to 30%, depending on whether the government intervenes in the case and the extent to which the relator substantially contributed to the prosecution of the action.
- If the government intervenes in the action, a successful relator will receive between 15% and 25% of the amount recovered by the government. The exact percentage is usually negotiated with the government at the conclusion of a successful case and will depend on the relatorâ€™s substantial contribution to the litigation.
- If the government does not intervene in the case and the relator continues the action to a successful outcome, the relator will be entitled to between 25% and 30% of the amount recovered for the government.
- There are circumstances in which a relator may be entitled to receive less than 15% of the amount recovered by the government. If the relatorâ€™s suit is one that is found to be â€śbased primarily on disclosures of specific informationâ€ť relating to allegations or transactions from public sources (other lawsuits, government hearings or investigations, or news reports), the relator may be entitled to no more than 10% of the proceeds of the case.
Legal Help & Free Case Evaluation
If you are thinking of coming forward and blowing the whistle on your employer or another company, please fill out the form on ourÂ Free Consultation page today! Our lawyers will evaluate your case confidentially and at no cost.
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