Because the government can recover three times the amount that it paid, the whistleblower's reward often reaches hundreds of thousands of dollars and sometimes millions of dollars.
The law provides that the whistleblower, who is known as a "relator", can file a lawsuit on behalf of the government to recover money or property that was paid by the government as a result of false or fraudulent claims. Typical cases involve submitting false claims to Medicare or Medicaid, getting paid under government contracts for work that was never done or was done improperly, and providing false information to get government loans or subsidies.
The lawsuit is filed under seal (that is, in secret) with a disclosure statement that describes the evidence of fraud. The government reviews this evidence and decides whether to participate in the lawsuit or to let the relator pursue the lawsuit on their own.
The first step in filing a whistleblower lawsuit (also known as a qui tam lawsuit) is to consult with an experienced lawyer. A good lawyer who practices in this area will review and analyze your case at no charge. If they decide that your case has merit, they will usually represent you on a contingency fee basis. That is, they will only get paid if you win the case and recover money.
Having a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer on your side is critical because the government refuses to participate in most qui tam lawsuits. An experienced lawyer can help you build a persuasive case that will be attractive to the government.
You should act quickly. The first person to file a qui tam lawsuit prevents others from filing similar lawsuits against the same defendant. There are also strict time limitations on when a qui tam lawsuit can be filed.
If you believe that your employer is engaged in Medicare or Medicaid fraud, or is otherwise making false claims to the government, then you should consult with an experienced lawyer immediately. To schedule a free initial consultation by telephone or in person, call my office today at (212) 601-2728 or click here to communicate with me via email.
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