Please read through the following for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions related to reporting fraud. If you have further questions, do not hesitate to contact us for more information.
A False Claims Act whistleblower, or relator, is a person who, as a plaintiff, brings a False Claims Act case on behalf of the government. These two words are often used interchangeably.
A whistleblower/relator can be an employee, a customer, an unrelated party, a competitor, or any other person or entity that learns about government billing or claim fraud. Often current employees have the best "view" of a scheme to defraud the government. These individuals have the ability to see such a scheme first hand and are typically familiar with the claims and billing process. Competitors may suspect a billing scheme is being perpetrated by another company because of pricing differentials or from information received from disgruntled employees. It is also not unusual for former employees to report a scheme to defraud. In all cases, it is important that the whistleblower/relator be the "original source" of the information; i.e., that the information is not publicly-known or known to the government in advance.
Under certain circumstances, False Claims Act cases can arise from overcharges, fraudulent non-compliance with a contract, fraudulent billings, overpayments, unrefunded amounts owed to the government, certain false certifications, and concealment of product defects. There are countless possible false claims scenarios.
Initially, yes. False Claims Act cases begin under seal, which keeps the case and the whistleblower's identity confidential. These cases are only unsealed when the court orders it. The length of the process can be as short as two months to as long as a year or more.
It may. The recent amendments to the False Claims Act's anti-retaliatory provisions cover contractors and agents of the retaliating party who are not technically "employees."
There is no typical case. Some are resolved in less than a year, some in one or two years, and others take several years to resolve. Each case depends on the complexity of its facts, defenses, and other factors.
Hodgson Russ has considerable experience on both sides of False Claims Act cases. We have defended corporate clients that have been sued under the act, and we have represented whistleblowers alleging a wide range of frauds. We know how the process works, we know the players, and we know what it takes to ensure you are represented well, that you are most helpful to the government, and that you receive the highest share of the proceeds to which you are fairly entitled. We pride ourselves on being a full-service firm with substantive knowledge and experience beyond the False Claims Act — experience in the areas and industries where fraud commonly occurs, including medical technology and pharmaceuticals, military contracting,, and transportation.
Examples include Medicare and Medicaid fraud, off-label pharmaceutical sales, and defense contractor fraud.
Yes. Your lawyers do not have to have offices near you or the company at issue. Hodgson Russ has pursued False Claims Act cases in various jurisdictions across the country.
Our legal fees are paid as a percentage of your recovery. If you do not recover, you do not have to pay our legal fees.