The False Claims Act (FCA) imposes liability on individuals and organizations that defraud the government by submitting false or fraudulent claims for payment.
When private whistleblowers discover such fraudulent activity, they can initiate legal action, through counsel, in federal court against the alleged wrongdoer under the FCA.
Keep reading to learn more about this process and get the latest stats from a whistleblower attorney.
The government investigates False Claims Act cases
When a case is filed under the FCA, the government, through the Department of Justice (DOJ), is mandated to investigate the claims of the private whistleblower. Upon completion of its investigation, the DOJ will either intervene or take over the lawsuit, or decline to intervene in the lawsuit.
In some instances, the intervention decision may be a sliding scale between intervention and declination, but that is a whole different blog post.
If the government declines to intervene for whatever reason, the private whistleblower, through their experienced FCA counsel, may litigate the case without the government.
Recoveries and settlements
Recoveries and settlements in FCA cases refer to the amounts of money paid by defendants who are found liable or who settle with the government and/or private whistleblowers in declined cases.
The settlement/recovery belongs to the government. However, under the FCA, private whistleblowers are entitled to a portion of the recovery when it results from the whistleblower’s lawsuit.
If the government intervenes and recovers funds, the whistleblower is entitled to between 15% – 25%. In cases where the government declines to intervene and the private whistleblower recovers funds through their attorney, they’re entitled to between 25% – 30%.
How much money do whistleblowers get?
The amount of money recovered or paid in FCA cases can vary widely depending on the nature and scope of the fraud involved. Some cases may result in large recoveries or settlements, while others may result in modest payouts.
Overall, FCA cases initiated by private whistleblowers with experienced counsel are extremely effective in combating fraud against the government and recovering money lost as a result of such fraud.
However, not all FCA cases are successful, and even successful cases may result in only partial recoveries or settlements.
DOJ False Claims Act statistics for 2022
Proving this point, DOJ recently released updated statistics on FCA recoveries.
The statistics include settlements and judgments for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2022, and that number was in excess of $2.2 billion. DOJ and whistleblowers were party to 351 total settlements and judgments, the second-highest number for a single year under the FCA.
The statistics also show historical trends of FCA recoveries. Cases initiated by private whistleblowers are responsible for more than 86% of funds recovered by the government under the FCA. Approximately 1.9 out of the 2.2 billion dollars recovered in 2022 were the qui tam provisions of the FCA, meaning cases brought by whistleblowers.
Healthcare fraud is still responsible for the lion’s share of FCA recoveries. Of the 2.2 billion dollars recovered in the fiscal year 2022, $1.7 billion came from matters related to healthcare fraud. Year in and year out, healthcare fraud represents the leading source of FCA settlements and judgments in terms of total dollars recovered.
Finally, and probably of most significance, the statistics reveal that for the first time in history, declined FCA cases were responsible for a majority of the dollars recovered by the DOJ. Declined cases outpaced DOJ-intervened matters, with $1.1 billion recovered by whistleblowers and their counsel.
The bottom line? Favorable outcomes depend on competent counsel.
These statistics highlight the importance of private relators and their counsel in FCA matters. It also emphasizes the importance of the private/public partnership the DOJ and private counsel can have.
FCA cases are declined for a variety of reasons. In our practice, we are seeing the government decline more cases so that experienced FCA lawyers and their whistleblower clients can proceed with the matter.
Bracker & Marcus LLC has successfully represented clients in both intervened and declined FCA cases and we take our role of partnering with the government very seriously. We actively pursue cases both in an intervened and declined posture with the highest diligence, concern, and commitment.
Contact us today to schedule your evaluation.