When the company or government agency for which we work is guilty of some type of wrongdoing or illegal activity, it’s not easy to report the illegal activity to superiors. We may worry our jobs may be terminated or we may suffer some other repercussions at work.
However under the Federal False Claims Act, private citizens who know of people or companies that are defrauding the government may actually sue on the government’s behalf and even share in the proceeds of the lawsuit.
Whistleblower is the term given to the people who bring these causes of actions; qui tam relator is another name for whistleblower. Companies who defraud citizens or government agencies have been ordered to pay billions of dollars into the U.S. Treasury thanks to the actions of good citizens who had firsthand knowledge of the fraud that was taking place.
Some examples of whistleblower cases include:
- Medicaid and Medicare fraud by doctors and hospitals
- Fraud against the Department of Defense (DOD)
- Padding expense accounts
- Substituting substandard materials in government contracts, but charging for higher quality materials
- Drug companies giving kickbacks to doctors and pharmacists for pushing certain drugs they produce
- Drug companies providing kickbacks to doctors to prescribe medications for off-label uses
If you are aware of fraudulent activity going on in your company or government agency, you have the right to blow the whistle on the offenders.