The definition of a whistleblower is a person who exposes misconduct and alleges dishonest or illegal activity occurring in an organization.
In 1989, the Whistleblower Protection Act, also known as the False Claims Act or Qui Tam Statute, was enacted under United States federal law. The act protects federal whistleblowers who work for the government and report agency misconduct. Additionally, it gives ordinary citizens the chance to blow the whistle on companies or individuals they believe are in violation of a law, rule or regulation including waste of funds, abuse of authority or public health or safety endangerment.
Under the False Claims Act the government may recover up to three times the amount of money lost as a result of fraud while the whistleblower could receive up to 15 percent but no more than 25 percent of what the government recovers. Should the government decline to join the case, the whistleblower could receive up to 30 percent of what the government recovers.
If you know of a corporation, organization or individual who is defrauded the federal or state government out of money, you may be entitled to make a claim. At the law offices of Tapella & Eberspacher our knowledgeable False Claims Act attorneys can help you determine if your claim has merit, and if so, how to proceed.
Fill out the “Free Case Evaluation” form to your right or call us today at (855) 522-5291 for a no-cost, no-obligation completely confidential review of your fraud claim.
Types of False Claims Act Cases
Although False Claims Act cases rarely ever make the news, hundreds of claims are made each year. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), in the fiscal year ending Sept. 2013 the DOJ recovered more than $3.5 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving fraud. Additionally, more than 752 Whistleblower lawsuits were filed leading to more than $345 million paid out to those who exposed fraud by filing a qui tam complaint. Since 2009, the DOJ has recovered more than $17 billion under the False Claims Act.
Some common types of False Claims Act cases include:
- Health Care Fraud: includes fraudulent billing, duplicate claims, kickbacks, unnecessary services and more. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, in 2011, more than 2,600 cases of health care fraud were investigated.
- Corporate Fraud: if a company or organization overbills the government for goods or services, misrepresents what services were provided or files false reports, it may be considered fraud. The number of corporate fraud cases pending has gradually increased since 2007.
- Tax Fraud: when a company or organization fails to report income, omit assets or property, takes unauthorized deductions and falsely files their taxes it may be considered tax fraud. Although the False Claims Act generally covers corporations, individuals are often convicted of committing tax fraud as well.
According to the Justice Department, health care fraud has led to the largest amount of recoveries over the past few years.
Illinois Whistleblower Laws
In Illinois, the Whistleblower Reward and Protection Act allows whistleblowers to bring suits in the name of the State of Illinois against an organization that defrauds the state or local government of taxpayer dollars. The law was enacted in 1991.
In 2008, the act was expanded to cover all levels of state government. Additionally, a whistleblower can now receive up to 30 percent of the amount recovered as a reward upon the completion of a successful whistleblower lawsuit.
The identity of a whistleblower is kept confidential, a state agency cannot retaliate and discharge, suspend or demote you if your status as a whistleblower is revealed. If retaliation occurs the claimant may be entitled to:
- Back pay
- Interest on back pay
- Payment of attorney fees and other reasonable costs
If you know of a corporation, organization or individual defrauding the state of Illinois, contact our Qui Tam lawyers today at (855) 522-5291. It is very important that you speak with an attorney before speaking with anyone else about the qui tam claim as it could compromise your entitlement to compensation.
Contact our Whistleblower Lawsuit Lawyers Today
Timing is of the essence when it comes to filing a qui tam lawsuit, if you have information on illegal activities against the government contact our skilled False Claims Act lawyers today. At Tapella & Eberspacher we can confidently and confidentially advise you on your claim and how to proceed.
Our lawyers have a reputation for handling complex litigation and have decades of combined legal experience. We have the knowledge and resources needed to handle your qui tam litigation.
We have offices located in Charleston and O’Fallon, Illinois and also proudly assist whistleblowers in St. Louis, Missouri. To find out more contact us at (855) 522-5291. If we take your case there are no attorney fees unless you receive compensation.