Understanding the False Claims Act & Your Rights as a Whistleblower

man with whistleblower sign Whistleblowers take a big risk when exposing fraudulent activities of companies. Retaliation against whistleblowers is prohibited, but this doesn’t prevent companies from taking improper actions. To protect yourself as a whistleblower, you need an experienced lawyer who understands your rights and how to protect you from illegal retaliation.

Attorney James H. Shoemaker, Jr. has been protecting whistleblowers and fighting for justice for fraud victims for decades. With his knowledge and his passion for holding companies responsible for violations, Mr. Shoemaker is a necessary ally for you as a whistleblower.

What is the False Claims Act?

The False Claims Act (FCA) pertains to the action of knowingly submitting a false claim to the government in order to collect on the claim. It also applies to the action of knowingly falsifying information to avoid having to pay funds to the government.

If you become aware that a company is violating the FCA, the Act provides an avenue for you to file a qui tam action as a relator. This means that you can file a suit on the government’s behalf when a company is actively falsifying records or information to collect or withhold money from the government. The government then will review the claim and determine how to act.

What are your Rights as a Whistleblower?

The FCA details protections for whistleblowers. For those brave enough to expose fraudulent behaviors, the Act prohibits companies from retaliating in the following ways:

  • Decreasing your pay
  • Harassing you
  • Making threats
  • Firing you
  • Demoting you

The FCA also entitles whistleblowers to “all relief necessary to make that employee, contractor, or agent whole” if the relator is a victim of retaliatory discrimination. Such relief includes:

  • Reinstatement at your appropriate seniority level
  • Back pay, doubled and with interest
  • Compensation for legal fees

What Compensation is Available to Whistleblowers?

Depending on whether the government pursues the suit you bring, you could be entitled to a percentage of the proceeds of the case. Your reward as a relator is subject to change based on government action with the case and whether you knowingly participated in the fraudulent activity.

  • Government action– In cases where the government proceeds with action, you will receive 15 to 25 percent of the awarded amount if you played a significant role in making the case against the defendant.  If your role is determined to be minimal and the grounds for prosecution largely based on information from other sources, you may receive an award of up to 10 percent of the proceeds.
  • Government inaction – If the government does not choose to pursue the action, you are due 25 to 30 percent of the proceeds plus certain expenses and legal fees.
  • Criminal conviction – Participation in the fraudulent activity can affect your claim to compensation. Your award could be reduced by the court based on the degree of your complicity or participation in the false claim. If you are convicted of criminal participation, you forfeit your claim to any share of the proceeds.

Contact Us for a Free Whistleblower Consultation

Violations of the FCA often turn out to be long and complicated cases. Large companies have resources and advisors in place to protect their assets, putting a whistleblower in a vulnerable position. The knowledge and assets of an established, experienced whistleblower attorney are invaluable when it comes to protecting your career and receiving any due compensation.

Call Mr. Shoemaker at 757-223-4580 for a free consultation. We are based in Newport News, serving the areas of Virginia Beach, Washington, D.C., and taking cases across the United States.

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