Be Rewarded for Exposing Fraud through Qui Tam Whistleblower Actions
The government needs your help in uncovering waste and fraud, and they are willing to pay you for it. Since 1986, $27 Billion has been recovered in fraud against the government, and courageous individuals who stood up and blew the whistle have shared in that recovery. At Magaña, Cathcart & McCarthy, our attorneys continue our decades-long commitment to protecting the rights of victims in Southern California by standing up for whistleblowers who uncover fraud, illegal activity and unfair practices that harm us all.
Qui Tam Whistleblowers Under the Federal and California False Claims Acts
The Federal False Claims Act and the California False Claims Act allow individuals to file lawsuits against people or companies who defraud the federal government. This type of action is known as a qui tam action, which means that the lawsuit is brought for the benefit of the individual as well as the government. Guilty parties must pay back three times the amount they swindled from the government, and the individual who brought the lawsuit gets to share in the recovery. Your share of the recovery can be anywhere from 15% to one-third of the amount recovered. Government fraud is often perpetrated by huge companies, such as defense contractors and makers of medical equipment, and recoveries against such conglomerates can run into the millions of dollars.
The Lincoln Law – A long history of protecting tax dollars from unscrupulous companies
Qui Tam actions have a long history in the United States, dating back to an act of the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War. The current False Claims Act has roots stretching back to the American Civil War, when Abraham Lincoln signed a law against war profiteers selling shoddy supplies and equipment to the government and submitting false claims for payment. The law was actually weakened during the massive defense spending of World War II, but it was strengthened in 1986, when defense contractor overcharging and other misconduct reached its peak. Since 1986, $27 billion has been recovered thanks to whistleblowers filing Qui Tam and False Claims Act lawsuits, including a $2.5 Billion settlement in a pharmaceutical and health care fraud case in 2010. Below are just a handful of verdicts and settlements reached over the past ten years:
- In 2004, the University of Washington agreed to pay $35 million to settle claims that the University’s medical school and hospitals were overbilling Medicaid and Medicare.
- In 2005, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $150 million to settle claims they inflated the prices of certain cancer drugs in order to maximize their profits.
- In 2008, a jury awarded $7.6 million to a whistleblower employee who reported allegations of corruption and fraud in the California Department of Education and then allegedly suffered retaliation for blowing the whistle.
- Also in 2008, drug manufacturer Merck & Co settled a Medicaid fraud Qui Tam lawsuit for more than $400 million.
- In 2010, GlaxoSmithKline again forked over a huge settlement, this time paying $750 million amidst claims of making and selling adulterated drugs to Medicaid.
- Also in 2010, nine hospitals in seven states agreed to a $9.4 million settlement in a Medicare fraud whistleblower lawsuit. Many of the hospitals were already named in a Qui Tam lawsuit from 2008.
- In 2011, communications giant Verizon coughed up over $93 million to settle whistleblower claims that it overcharged on telecommunication service contracts with the government.
- Also in 2011, medical supplies company Medline agreed to pay $85 million in a Medicare/Medicaid fraud case. The executive who blew the whistle received $23.4 million, plus attorneys’ fees.
- In 2013, the IRS Whistleblower Office awarded $50 million to whistleblowers reporting accounting and tax law violations.
Southern California Qui Tam Whistleblower Attorneys
If you have uncovered an individual or company defrauding the government, contact Magaña, Cathcart & McCarthy to discuss your case with experienced and successful California civil lawyers who will work to make sure that justice is done and see to it that you are rewarded for your vigilance and dedication to doing what is right.