FALSE CLAIMS ACT WHISTLEBLOWER STATUTES
Federal and State statutes (sometimes referred to as “qui tam” statutes) provide financial incentives to private citizens (often referred to as “whistleblowers” or “relators”) who report fraudulent acts that have been committed against the government. The primary federal statute is the False Claims Act (FCA), a law that dates back to 1863 and the Civil War. The FCA imposes triple damages and penalties against any business or person that commits fraud in connection with obtaining a payment from the federal government. There are several types of fraud that can result in liability under the FCA including healthcare fraud, defense contractor fraud, and fraud involving educational loans or grants. FCA lawsuits include those against drug manufacturers (overcharging the government for the cost of drugs, and promoting the sale of prescription drugs for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)). Under the federal and state statutes, whistleblowers can receive awards ranging from 15% to 30% of any amount recovered, plus attorney’s fees and costs.
OTHER WHISTLEBLOWER PROGRAMS
THE IRS WHISTLEBLOWER PROGRAM
The IRS whistleblower program offers monetary rewards 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 payer.
THE SEC AND CFTC WHISTLEBLOWER PROGRAMS UNDER THE DODD-FRANK WALL STREET REFORM AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd Frank Act”) authorizes monetary awards to eligible individuals who provide information regarding securities laws violations such as insider trading or fraud. The information provided must lead to an SEC enforcement action in which over $1 million in sanctions is ordered.
THE MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY WHISTLEBLOWER PROGRAM
This program provides monetary rewards to individuals employed within the motor vehicle manufacturing or sales industries who voluntarily provide original information to the Department of Transportation about life-threatening safety issues that results in monetary recovery. Whistleblowers are entitled to rewards of 10-30% of any such recovery.