Every years, millions of tax dollars are stolen by government contractors and subcontractors who defraud the federal government and taxpayers by overcharging or billing for work never performed. Since the days of the Civil War, the federal government has attempted to combat this with the False Claims Act. The Act makes it a crime for contractors to knowingly defraud the federal government or to conspire to do so and allows the government to recover this stolen money. Over $30 billion dollars have been recovered by the federal government. The False Claims Act compensates whistleblowers who report the fraud by filing a whistleblower claim. False Claims Act whistleblowers (who must hire an attorney) may receive between 15% and 30% of a subsequent recovery.
People with knowledge of government contractors violating The False Claims Act can file a qui tam lawsuit against the perpetrators. Qui tam suits are civil lawsuits filed by private citizens on behalf of the federal government against those who would seek to defraud the government and the American people out of tax dollars. Individuals who file qui tam lawsuits are known as “relators.” Relators are eligible to receive up to 30% of the money successfully recovered for violations of the False Claims Act.
Common types of government contracting fraud includes gross waste of federal funds, mismanagement of a federal contract, abusing the authority given under a federal contract, and violation of laws related to a federal contract. Both contractors and subcontractors are subject to violations of The False Claims Act.
The False Claims Act contains provisions that protect whistleblowers from retaliation by their employers. This means that if an individual comes forward with information about possible fraud being perpetrated by your employer, it is a crime for the whistleblower to be fired or otherwise retaliated against. Employers who violate the anti-retaliation provisions of the False Claims Act are subject to further legal action and must compensate whistleblowers for the retaliation. This includes: