The Important Role of the Whistleblower

Blowing the whistle can be rewarding. Since 1986 False Claims Act (“FCA”) recoveries (both federal and state) total more than $28 billion whistleblowers have been awarded millions of dollars for reporting fraud against the government.

Whistleblowers recovered over $300 million for reporting fraud in 2018, with $39 million being awarded to a single whistleblower.

The False Claims Act (“FCA”) provides that private individuals, or whistleblowers, can file civil lawsuits on behalf of the government against an individual, company, or other organization that commits fraud on the government. If the defendant is found to have violated the FCA, it will be ordered to pay three times the amount of monetary damages sustained by the government, plus a penalty of up to $11,000 per false claim submitted by the defendant.

Whistleblowers may receive between 10-30% for bringing the qui tam action.

The FCA provides a significant monetary recovery to private persons who bring qui tam actions. The whistleblower who initiates a successful qui tam lawsuit receives a percentage of the penalty and damages. Generally, the whistleblower may receive a reward of between 15-30% of the government’s total recovery. Thus, if the government recovers $1 million, the whistleblower may receive a reward of between $150,000 and $300,000. The exact amount depends on the circumstances of the case. For example, a whistleblower may receive:

  • 25-30% if the government did not intervene in the action
  • 15-25% if the government intervened in the action
  • 10% or less if the government intervened in the action and most of the information relevant to the lawsuit was publicly available
  • A reduced amount if the whistleblower planned and initiated the false claims that formed the basis of the qui tam

The percentage the whistleblower receives is determined by the court handling the case after it considers the overall situation, including the whistleblower’s contribution to the action. The whistleblower may also be awarded reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees.

If you have knowledge of a fraud committed against the government, you may be entitled to receive a whistleblower reward if you report the fraud and the government successfully recovers on a whistleblower claim. For more information about whistleblower rewards and whistleblower lawsuits, contact Michael S. Bigin  or Laurence J. Hasson for more information.