At the Barnett Law Firm, we are interested in representing individuals who have knowledge of fraud on the government who are interested in making a whistleblower claim.
The False Claims Act is the single most important tool U.S. taxpayers have to recover the billions of dollars stolen through fraud by U.S. government and state contractors, often with the help of corrupt government officials.
The False Claims Act is the single most important tool U.S. taxpayers have to recover the billions of dollars stolen through fraud by U.S. government contractors every year. The False Claims Act has been around since the Civil War. During the Civil War, the US Congress recognized that the Government alone, with its limited resources, was overmatched in the fight against rampant fraud and war time graft.
The state of New Mexico finally enacted a similar law that applies to contractors and government officials that defraud the state in 2007.
These laws give private citizens incentive to report government contractor fraud by rewarding them financially — by giving private citizens the right to sue dishonest federal or state contractors in a “qui tam” lawsuit.
The federal and New Mexico false claims acts allow whistleblowers who expose fraud to keep a portion of any damages they help the government recover through their lawsuits — usually about 15-30 percent.
Under both the federal and state false claims acts, those who knowingly submit, or cause another person or entity to submit, false claims for payment of government funds are liable for three times the government’s damages plus civil penalties of $5,000 to $10,000 per false claim.
Whistleblower cases can involve literal “false claims” — knowingly submitting false bills or claims for payment. They also have something referred to as reverse liability. This happens when a contractor knowingly uses a false statement to avoid, decrease or conceal any obligation to the government.
In general, the federal and state false claims acts cover fraud involving any federally or state funded contract or program, with the exception of tax fraud. Some examples include the following:
- A contractor falsifies test results or other information regarding the quality or cost of products it sells to the Government;
- A health care provider bills Medicare of Medicaid for services that were not performed or were unnecessary, or;
- A grant recipient charges the Government for costs not related to the grant.
- An MVD contractor or automobile dealer keeping fees that should be remitted to the state
- Billing for goods and services that were never delivered or rendered.
- Billing for marketing, lobbying or other non-contract related corporate activities.
- Submitting false service records or samples in order to show better-than-actual
- Presenting broken or untested equipment as operational and tested.
- Performing inappropriate or unnecessary medical procedures in order to increase
- Medicare reimbursement.
- Billing for work or tests not performed.
- Billing for premium equipment but actually providing inferior equipment.
The federal and New Mexico false claims acts are about more than money. It’s also about discouraging fraud and changing the culture of corruption that is to prevalent in government. We’re here when you need us, with answers to the toughest questions you might have. Give us a call.