False Claims Act
Did you know that there is a law that was created incentives for private individuals to report persons engaged in fraud against the federal government? It dates back to 1863 and is also known as the “Informer’s Act”, “Lincoln’s Law”, the “Whistleblower Act” and “Qui Tam” (which means, “who sues on behalf of the King as well as for himself”).
If the federal government likes your case they can take your case over, but you are still rewarded. What can you recover?
- A successful plaintiff’s share is “at least 15 percent, but not more than 25 percent of what the defendant pays,” when the government intervenes, as well as reasonable expenses and attorneys’ fees.
- In an action in which the government declines to intervene, the plaintiff’s share is now “not less than 25 percent and not more than 30 percent of what the defendant pays,” as well as reasonable expenses and attorneys’ fees.
- If your case is successful the defendant will pay a minimum of $5000 and a maximum of $10,000 for each violation, plus three times the government’s actual damages (treble damages). The damages of the government in cases like this can easily run into the millions of dollars.
- Defendants are held liable for acting in “deliberate ignorance” or “reckless disregard” of the truth and the statute of limitations is ten years to bring a lawsuit.
For example a title insurance or escrow agent may be liable for knowingly contributing to a fraudulent mortgage transaction (such as a straw man transaction or misrepresentation of source of funds and down payment) on a federally insured loan. See 31 USCS Section 3729-3733. Liability can include treble damages for the lost loan amount.
If you need representation on a violation of the False Claims Act, or are interested in finding out about one of our other practice areas, we invite you to contact our office to schedule an appointment with a member of our well-qualified staff.