The False Claims Act (FCA) is the single most successful law crafted to help the federal government recover money stolen from it through fraud. Whistleblower cases, also called qui tam suits, filed under the False Claims Act allow private individuals to file a civil action against companies or individuals that have defrauded the government by making false claims or statements for payment.
Under the False Claims Act, the Department of Justice is authorized to pay a reward to whistleblowers who report fraud against the government. Awards range from 15% to 30% of the government’s recovery based on the whistleblower’s disclosures and assistance. The False Claims Act has been used to expose numerous types of fraud against the government including grant fraud, fraud against federally run health programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and government contract fraud, such as overbilling the government for goods and services or providing shoddy or substandard products.
Building on the success of the False Claims Act, thirty states, as well as some cities and counties, have passed their own versions of the False Claims Act and at least two states, Illinois and California, have enacted insurance fraud statutes. Congress has created other whistleblower programs, like the SEC Whistleblower Program (securities fraud), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Whistleblower Program (commodity trading fraud), the IRS Whistleblower Program (tax fraud) and The Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act (motor vehicle safety).