A citizen can file litigation against any entity that has defrauded the U.S government. Sanctioned under Title 31 of the United States Code, the False Claims Act can offer substantial financial rewards to individuals that provide previously undisclosed information that leads to a settlement or judgment against the defendant.
Understanding False Claims Act
By some estimates, nearly 10% of the annual budget of the U.S treasury is paid to individuals and companies that have defrauded the government. The fraud is committed primarily through overcharging and billing for phantom products and services. The most common targets for abuse include departments and federal programs such as defense, Medicare, Medicaid and public benefit fraud.
Commonly referred to as “whistleblowers,” the relator may file under the False Claims Act if they are the original source for information that exposes the fraudulent acts. This includes transgressions committed against the government under any of the following circumstances:
- Submitting a false bill or statement designed to receive an unearned payment from the government.
- Holding or concealing property rightfully belonging to the government.
- Conspiring with another individual or entity to file a false claim with the government.
- Knowingly purchasing property owned by the government through a third party.
- Submitting a fraudulent receipt to the government for its own property.
- Making false or misleading statements to avoid paying a legitimate debt or delivering property that is owed to the government.