Los Angeles Whistleblower Claims Lawyers
Representing clients throughout California who stand against false claims and corruption
The federal False Claims Act (FCA) and the California False Claims Act (CFCA) were put in place to help individual citizens protect the government from fraud in all its forms. The FCA and CFCA help the federal and state government recover billions of dollars that were stolen from the U.S. government.
At McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP, our trusted Los Angeles whistleblower attorneys represent employees who are courageous enough to report the fraud they witness at work. Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help.
In 2018 alone, the U.S. Department of Justice recovered more than $2.8 billion from False Claims Act cases. Of those cases, $2.5 billion involved the health care industry, which includes drug and medical device manufacturers, managed care providers, hospitals, pharmacies, hospice organizations, laboratories and physicians.
What is a whistleblower?
A whistleblower is “a person who informs on another or makes public disclosure of corruption or wrongdoing.” A story in Forbes reports that 40% of all frauds are discovered by a whistleblower, who is often an employee of the organization he or she is blowing the whistle on. It takes tremendous courage to report when an individual sees corruption going on and whistleblowers often face retaliation from their organizations.
What is the False Claims Act?
The False Claims Act is designed to hold people and entities accountable if they defraud a government program. Within the FCA is a qui tam provision which states that any person can bring a lawsuit on behalf of the government against another person or entity who has defrauded the government. In other words, an action filed on behalf of the federal government to root out fraud is a qui tam action. The law under which that claim is filed is the False Claims Act.
What is the California False Claims Act?
The CFCA allows whistleblowers to bring a lawsuit in the name of the state of California for fraudulent claims, misappropriating public funds or deceptively failing to return funds to the state. Like the federal law, whistleblowers can share in the recovery. The California Attorney General can also choose to prosecute the claim as a crime.
Do whistleblowers get any type of protection against retaliation?
As you can imagine, employers are generally not pleased when they discover that an employee has informed on them to the government. Whistleblowers can face losing their jobs, losing seniority or being discriminated against because they took a stand. Fortunately, the FCA contains provisions that protect whistleblowers who file qui tam lawsuits from being “discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment.” 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h)(1)
An employee or a contractor is protected from retaliation after reporting FCA allegations. If a whistleblower faces retaliation, the False Claims Act entitles him or her to "all relief necessary to make the employee whole," including reinstatement if he or she has been fired, two times back pay with interest, and reasonable attorney fees and court costs. An experienced Los Angeles qui tam attorney will help to protect your rights in the workplace after you have blown the whistle on corruption and fraud against the government.
What are the damages and penalties under the federal False Claims Act?
The FCA provides that any person who knowingly submitted false claims to the government is liable for treble the amount of the government's damages plus a civil penalty of up to $11,000 for each false claim according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The defendant will also be required to pay the costs of litigation.
In May 2019, the DOJ Civil Division announced a program that would allow defendants who cooperate with the department during a False Claims investigation to receive credit for cooperation. If a defendant who is under investigation provides voluntary disclosure, cooperation or remediation, credit could take the form of a reduction in damages and civil penalties. The whistleblower might recover anywhere between 15 and 33 percent of the proceeds in a successful FCA claim.
What should I do if I suspect government fraud is going on in my workplace?
Before you can blow the whistle on fraud or corruption in your workplace, you must have evidence. If you have solid evidence of the fraud taking place against the government, you should consult with a knowledgeable Los Angeles qui tam lawyer who will make sure that your evidence is enough to develop a strong case. You should be mindful to hire a lawyer with experience representing whistleblowers because your choice of legal counsel will make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. While you may recover a share of the damages if the case is successful, there are also significant risks that should be considered before acting. A McNicholas & McNicholas employment attorney will explain the legal options available and help you stand up for justice.
Schedule a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles qui tam attorney today
Are you aware of corruption or fraud against the state or federal government going on at your workplace? If you are courageous enough to be a whistleblower and you have convincing evidence, you can help recover money owed to the United States government and receive a percentage of the recovery for your efforts. At McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP, our trusted Los Angeles qui tam lawyers protect the interests of whistleblowers who come forward to do the right thing. We will work tirelessly to help ensure that you are properly compensated as a whistleblower. Call our office at 310.474.1582 or complete our contact form today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.