The U.S. False Claims Act or “Lincoln Law” was enacted by Congress in 1863. During the Civil War, unscrupulous businessmen took advantage of the Army’s desperate need for supplies and sold the military unhealthy animals, faulty ammunition, and rancid food. The False Claims Act allowed everyday citizens to take action to stop this type fraud. Today, the False Claims Act is used by whistleblowers to report fraud involving the misuse of government funds.
Under the False Claims Act individual whistleblowers can sue businesses and individuals that commit fraud against the government. The whistleblower or “relator” files the suit on behalf of the United States. In return, the relator may be awarded up to 25 percent of the funds that are recovered.
Examples of Fraud Covered by the False Claims Act
- Overcharging the government for goods or services
- Billing more than once for the same goods or services
- Billing for a generic product at the brand name price
- Billing the government for marketing, lobbying, or other corporate activities not covered in the contract
- Billing the government for goods or services that were not provided, not received, or not requested
- Providing goods or services that are defective, broken, substandard or otherwise different from the goods or services specified by the government contract
- Shifting expenses from one contract to another
- Billing for work or services that were not performed
- Billing for unapproved, inappropriate, unlicensed, or expired medications
- Bundling medical services at higher reimbursement rates
- Intentionally not complying with government requirements for Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement
- Intentionally using multiple or erroneous billing codes
- Providing false certification of compliance with government requirements or guidelines
- Submitting false records on safety, quality, effectiveness or performance
- Intentionally falsifying or misrepresenting research data
- Obtaining a government contract through kickbacks, bribery, or any other violation of the law
- Marketing or selling drugs for off-market uses not approved by the FDA
- Illegally marketing medications or medical devices through kickbacks
- Failing to report an overpayment
State False Claims Acts
Government fraud happens on the state as well as the federal level. Therefore, many states have their own versions of the False Claims Act. These laws give citizens the right to pursue a whistleblower lawsuit for fraud against state and local governments and the misuse of state funds. Please contact an attorney for information about whistleblower laws in your state.
Questions? Contact Us to Learn More About the False Claims Act
Do you have questions about a potential False Claims Act case, whistleblower rewards, or your rights as a whistleblower? Contact Petrelli Law at 800-432-9461. We’ll be happy to schedule a free and confidential consultation.