About the False Claims Act
The Federal False Claims Act is the primary tool used by the US Government to combat fraud. It allows whistleblowers to sue individuals or entities that are defrauding the government and recover damages and penalties on the government’s behalf.
The False Claims Act allows private citizens to sue those that commit fraud against government programs.
The statute also provides whistleblowers with financial rewards and job protection against retaliation.
A key feature of the law is the qui tam (or whistleblower) provision, under which an individual or entity (known as a “relator”) with knowledge of fraud against the Government may file a lawsuit under seal on behalf of the United States. If the case is successful, the relator can share in the Government’s monetary recovery and recover attorney’s fees and costs from the defendant. Congress hoped that creating these monetary incentives, along with provisions protecting whistleblowers from reprisal or retaliation, would encourage whistleblowers to come forward and incentivize private lawyers to commit legal resources to representing whistleblowers in prosecuting fraud on the Government’s behalf.
The FCA has been highly successful as a public-private partnership. As of the end of 2018, Government recoveries have exceeded $59 billion following the 1986 amendments that strengthened the False Claims Act, with rewards to whistleblowers totaling billions of dollars.