Federal False Claims Act
The False Claims Act is a federal law geared toward curbing government fraud and waste. It empowers people who know about false claims, overbilling and other fraudulent activity to act, and earn a reward for their actions. In most case, the person best able to uncover fraud is an employee of the fraudulent company.
Lawyer for Federal Qui Tam Claims in the Greater Philadelphia Area
If you are seeking to expose an employer for fraudulent activity against the federal government in the greater Philadelpia area, or throughout the surrounding areas in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or New York, then contact an qui tam lawyer at Console Mattiacci Law, LLC to assist you.
If a lawsuit is filed on your behalf or on behalf of the federal governement based on your claim, you can earn a portion of the damages recovered. We are experienced in federal courts in representing whistleblowers against employers, and have been recognized by our peers for our skill and dedication. Call us today at 215-545-7676 to schedule a consultation.
We have an office in Philadelphia and represent workers on qui tam actions in the federal courts across Pennsylvania, including the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts. We also have an office in Moorestown, New Jersey, and represent clients throughout the state, including the federal courts in Trenton, Camden and Newark. In addition, we represent clients throughout the State of New York.
History of the False Claims Act
The False Claims Act was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1863, during the height of the Civil War. Congress was seeking to supply the Union Army, and was concerned that certain suppliers were seeking to defraud the federal government.
The law addressed this by not only creating a penalty of a fine and doubling the damages incurred, but by also creating an incentive for people with knowledge of the fraud to act. In most cases, an employee of the liable company is in the best position to be aware of the fraud, so the FCA factors heavily into employment law.
The Act has been amended several times since, notably in 1986 to raise fines and increase the damages available from double to triple.
Examples of False Claims That Bring Qui Tam Actions
The False Claims Act pertains to fraudulent claims and acts involving the federal government. In an employment context, this often affects health care providers who bill Medicare and Medicaid. The law also relates to federal contractors, including defense contractors and construction contractors.
In cases involving health care providers, including doctors, nurses and clinics, a qui tam action may be brought if the provider is billing Medicare for services not provided or services that are not medically necessary. They may also double bill, sending a claim both to Medicare/Medicaid and a private insurance company. In some cases, they may offer kickbacks to patients in exchange for assisting them.
Contractors may take shortcuts with their work or bill for work not performed, as well.
Under 31 U.S.C. § 3729, the federal law covers any matter in which a person submits a false claim for payment or approval to the federal government, uses a false record or statement in conjunction with a false claim, has custody of federal property or funds and returns less than all, or conspires to defraud the federal government.
Filing a Law Suit Under the FCA
Under the Federal Claims Act, a person can bring a lawsuit against the employer on behalf of himself or herself and on behalf of the government. This is called a “qui tam” action, which is short for the Latin phrase ” who sues in this matter for the king, as well as for himself.”
The person bringing the suit is called the “relator.” The relator (or client) must be the “first to file” – meaning he or she must be the first person to bring the fraudulent activity to the attention of the government. In order to do this, the relator must hire an attorney and the attorney must file the complaint with the federal government under seal – meaning confidentially.
The lawsuit should be brought in federal court under seal, and must be filed with the appropriate district. Philadelphia and the surrounding communities in Pennsylvania are in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, with most judges housed in the James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse.
All of New Jersey is in one district, with courthouses in the Mitchell H. Cohen Building and U.S. Courthouse in Camden, the Clarkson S. Fisher Building and U.S. Courthouse in Trenton and the Martin Luther King Building and U.S. Courthouse in Newark.
When a relator brings a suit, he or she must serve notice, via an attorney, to the U.S. government through the U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for the appropriate district. The government will determine whether to intervene within 60 days, although extensions are routinely granted.
If the government intervenes, the relator may earn between 15 to 25 percent of the damages recovered. If it chooses not to, the relator may continue the suit, represented by his or her attorney, and earn up to 30 percent of the triple damages the government could have recovered.
Finding a Lawyer for a Whistleblower Suit in Pennsylvania
A dedicated Philadelphia federal qui tam lawyer can represent you if you are seeking to expose fraud and waste of federal funds by an employer.
At Console Mattiacci Law, LLC, we represent workers in qui tam actions in federal courts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadephia in Pennsylvania and in Moorestown, New Jersey.
Contact us to schedule a consultation if you are aware of an employer who is defrauding the state or federal government.
Call 215-545-7676 today.