False Claims Act Qui Tam Whistleblower Lawyers: Guide for False Claims Act Relators/Whistleblowers
The qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act have been enormously effective in enlisting private citizens to combat fraud against the government. Qui tam whistleblowers, also known as relators, have enabled the government to recover more than $70 billion. In fiscal year 2017 alone, qui tam actions brought by whistleblowers resulted in $3.4 billion in settlements and judgments, and the government paid $392 million in whistleblower awards to False Claims Act whistleblowers. Whistleblowers now initiate nearly 80 percent of False Claims Act recoveries.
In conjunction with co-counsel, Zuckerman has successfully represented whistleblowers disclosing off-label marketing, Medicare fraud, medical device fraud, and student loan fraud.
Described by the National Law Journal as a “leading whistleblower attorney,” founding Principal Jason Zuckerman has established precedent under a wide range of whistleblower protection laws and obtained substantial compensation for his clients and recoveries for the government in whistleblower rewards and whistleblower retaliation cases.
Three of the matters he has worked on are featured in Tom Mueller’s seminal book about whistleblowing Crisis of Conscience: Whistleblowing in an Age of Fraud and Dan Maldea’s Corruption in U.S. Higher Education: The Stories of Whistleblowers. False Claims Act qui tam cases he has worked on in conjunction with other attorneys have resulted in recoveries in excess of $100 million.
Call our False Claims Act whistleblower lawyers today at 202-262-8959 to find out if you might be eligible for a False Claims Act whistleblower award.
To learn about False Claims Act whistleblower protection, see our FCA whistleblower retaliation FAQ.
Frequently Asked Questions About False Claims Act Qui Tam Whistleblower Law
A qui tam whistleblower can be eligible for a large recovery. But there are many pitfalls and obstacles to proving liability, and there are unique rules and procedures that govern qui tam whistleblower cases. Therefore, it is critical to retain an experienced False Claims Act whistleblower lawyer to maximize your recovery. This FAQ provides an overview of some of the key aspects of False Claims Act claims.
- What is a qui tam whistleblower lawsuit?
- What types of false claims are prohibited by the False Claims Act?
- What is the first-to-file bar in False Claims Act qui tam cases?
- What is the requirement to file a False Claims Act qui tam action under seal?
- Are False Claims Act whistleblowers protected against retaliation?
- What is a reverse false claim?
- What is the statute of limitations for a False Claims Act qui tam action?
- What is the public disclosure bar in the False Claims Act?
- What is the original source exception to the public disclosure bar?
- What is materiality under the False Claims Act?
- What is “Scienter” Under the False Claims Act?
- Is a Violation of the Anti-Kickback Law Also a Violation of the False Claims Act?
- Does the False Claims Act Prohibit Bid-Rigging?
- Does the False Claims Act Prohibit Fraudulent Inducement of a Contract?
- Can a violation of Good Manufacturing Practices give rise to False Claims Act Liability?
- Is there a heightened pleading requirement for False Claims Act qui tam cases?
- Does the False Claims Act authorize treble damages?
- Must a False Claims Act qui tam relator have firsthand knowledge of all aspects of the fraud?
2022 Qui Tam False Claims Act Settlements
|Amount||Violations||Date||Press Release from DOJ or Relator's Counsel|
|$260M||Mallinckrodt resolved allegations that it violated the FCA by knowingly: 1) underpaying Medicaid rebates due for its drug H.P. Acthar Gel; and 2) using a foundation as a conduit to pay illegal co-pay subsidies in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute for Acthar.||March 7, 2022||Mallinckrodt Agrees to Pay $260 Million to Settle Lawsuits Alleging Underpayments of Medicaid Drug Rebates and Payment of Illegal Kickbacks|
|$48.5M||In the largest-ever False Claims Act recovery based on allegations of small business contracting fraud, TriMark agreed to pay $48.5 million to resolve allegations that its subsidiaries, TriMark Gill Marketing and Gill Group, Inc. improperly manipulated federal small business set-aside contracts around the country. TriMark identified federal set-aside contract opportunities for the small businesses to bid on using their set-aside status; instructed them regarding how to prepare their bids and what prices to propose; “ghostwrote” emails for those companies to send to government officials to make it appear as though the small businesses were performing work that TriMark was performing; and affirmatively concealed TriMark’s involvement in the contract.||February 23, 2022||Government Contractor Agrees to Pay Record $48.5 Million to Resolve Claims Related to Fraudulent Procurement of Small Business Contracts Intended for Service-Disabled Veterans|
|$34M||Eargo agreed to pay $34.37 million to resolve allegations that it submitted or caused the submission of claims for hearing aid devices for reimbursement to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) that contained unsupported hearing loss diagnosis codes.||April 29, 2022||Hearing Aid Company Eargo Inc. Agrees to Pay $34.37 Million to Settle Common Law and False Claims Act Allegations for Unsupported Diagnosis Codes|
|$24.5M||Physician Partners of America LLC (PPOA), its founder, and its former chief medical officer agreed to pay $24.5 million to resolve allegations that they violated the FCA by billing federal healthcare programs for unnecessary medical testing and services, paying unlawful remuneration to its physician employees and making a false statement in connection with a loan obtained through the PPP.||April 12, 2022||Physician Partners of America to Pay $24.5 Million to Settle Allegations of Unnecessary Testing, Improper Remuneration to Physicians and a False Statement in Connection with COVID-19 Relief Funds|
|$20M||BayCare Health System Inc. and entities that operate four affiliated Florida hospitals (collectively BayCare) have agreed to pay the United States $20 million to resolve allegations that BayCare violated the False Claims Act by making donations to the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County (JWB) to improperly fund the state’s share of Medicaid payments to BayCare. The four hospitals are Morton Plant Hospital, Mease Countryside Hospital, Mease Dunedin Hospital and St. Anthony’s Hospital.|
Specifically, the United States alleged that during this time, BayCare made improper, non-bona fide cash donations to JWB knowing that JWB would and then did transfer a portion of the cash donations to the State of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration for Florida’s Medicaid Program. The funds transferred by JWB to the state were “matched” by the federal government before being returned to the BayCare hospitals as Medicaid payments, and BayCare was thus able to recoup its original donations to JWB and also receive federal matching funds, in violation of the federal prohibition on non-bona fide donations. BayCare’s donations to JWB increased Medicaid payments received by BayCare, without any actual expenditure of state or local funds.
|April 6, 2022||Florida’s BayCare Health System and Hospital Affiliates Agree to Pay $20 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations Relating to Impermissible Medicaid Donations|
|$14.6M||Massachusetts General Hospital, the clinical teaching arm for Harvard Medical School, resolved a federal whistleblower case stemming from allegations that some of the hospital's orthopedic surgeons engaged in overlapping surgeries that violated federal Medicare and Commonwealth of Massachusetts Medicaid rules.||February 19, 2022||MASS GENERAL HOSPITAL TO PAY $14.6 MILLION TO RESOLVE OVERLAPPING SURGERY CLAIMS; STANDARDIZED CONSENT FORMS TO BE AMENDED|
|$14M||Georgia Cancer Specialists, agreed to pay $8 million to resolve allegations that GCS solicited and received kickbacks for more than a decade, first from Option Care, an infusion pharmacy and medical equipment provider, and later from Amedisys, a Medicare nursing company. The whistleblowers received $2.4 million dollars, the maximum possible relators’ share.||February 1, 2022||Louis J. Cohen, Whistleblower Counsel, Announces Georgia Cancer Specialists Agrees to Pay $8 Million Dollars to Resolve Medicare Fraud Kickback and Stark Law Violations; Total Settlements Exceed $14 Million|
|$13M||Cardinal Health agreed to pay $13,125,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by paying “upfront discounts” to its physician practice customers, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute.||January 31, 2022||Cardinal Health Agrees to Pay More than $13 Million to Resolve Allegations that it Paid Kickbacks to Physicians|
|$9M||Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. and whistleblower Brian Markus settled a False Claims Act suit alleging that the company misled the government about its cybersecurity practices to gain missile defense and rocket engine contracts.||April 29, 2022||Aerojet Rocketdyne, Whistleblower Settle Cybersecurity Suit|
|$7.4M||Six surgery centers and medical offices affiliated with Interventional Pain Management Center P.C. settled a qui tam action for mischaracterizing acupuncture as a surgical procedure in order to dishonestly obtain millions of dollars from Medicare and the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program.|
The defendants treated patients with electro-acupuncture devices called P-Stim and NeuroStim/NSS (“NSS”). P-Stim and NSS procedures transmit electrical pulses through needles placed just under the skin on a patient’s ear. Both treatments are considered acupuncture under Medicare and Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (“FEHBP”) guidelines and are therefore ineligible for reimbursement by the government. From January 2012 through April 2017, the IPMC surgery centers and medical offices submitted claims to Medicare and FEHBP for P-Stim and NSS treatment and associated administration of anesthesia. In submitting the claims, the defendants used a billing code that mischaracterized the acupuncture treatment as a surgical implantation of a neurostimulator.
|January 12, 2022||Surgery Centers and Medical Offices in New Jersey Settle Allegations of Federal Health Care Fraud|
|$6.85M||YRC Freight Inc, Roadway Express Inc. and Yellow Transportation Inc. agreed to pay approximately $6.85 million to resolve allegations that they knowingly presented false claims to DOD by systematically overcharging for freight carrier services and making false statements to hide their misconduct.||March 14, 2022||Freight Carriers Agree to Pay $6.85 Million to Resolve Allegations of Knowingly Presenting False Claims to the Department of Defense|
|$2.1M||SHC Home Health Services of Florida, LLC and its related entities (collectively “Signature HomeNow”) paid $2.1 million to the United States government to settle claims of improperly billing the Medicare Program for home health services provided to beneficiaries living in Florida. The complaint alleged that Signature HomeNow knowingly submitted false or fraudulent claims seeking payment from the Medicare Program for home health services to Medicare beneficiaries who: (i) were not homebound; (ii) did not require certain skilled care; (iii) did not have a valid or otherwise appropriate plans of care in place; and/or (iv) did not have appropriate face-to-face encounters needed in order to be appropriately certified to receive home health services.||May 5, 2022||Home Health Company Operating in Florida Pays $2.1 Million to Resolve False Claims Allegations|
|$2M||Hayat Pharmacy agreed to pay approximately $2M to resolve allegations that it submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid in 2019 for two prescription medications and switched Medicaid and Medicare patients from lower cost medications to the iodoquinol-hydrocortisone-aloe cream and Azesco without any medical need and/or without a valid prescription.||January 28, 2022||Milwaukee Pharmacy Chain to Pay Over $2 Million to Resolve Allegations It Violated the False Claims Act|
|$930,000||Comprehensive Health Services, LLC agreed to pay $930,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by falsely representing to the State Department and the Air Force that it complied with contract requirements relating to the provision of medical services at State Department and Air Force facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States alleged that, between 2012 and 2019, CHS failed to disclose to the State Department that it had not consistently stored patients’ medical records on a secure EMR system.||March 8, 2022||Contractor Pays $930,000 to Settle False Claims Act Allegations Relating to Medical Services Contracts at State Department and Air Force Facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan|
Whistleblower Retaliation Laws Protecting Employees of Federal Contractors and Grantees
Courageous whistleblowers that come forward to report fraud deserve robust protection against retaliation. Below is a list of common questions about key aspects of the anti-retaliation provisions of the False Claims Act and the Defense Contractor Whistleblower Protection Act.
- How does the NDAA whistleblower retaliation law protect whistleblowers at federal contractors and grantees?
- Must a NDAA Whistleblower Retaliation Plaintiff Prove a Subjective Belief of a Violation?
- What whistleblowing is protected under the False Claims Act anti-retaliation provision?
- Does the False Claims Act protect whistleblowers against retaliation?
- Is whistleblowing in the course of performing job duties protected under the False Claims Act?
- Is False Claims Act Whistleblower Protection Limited to Disclosures About the Whistleblower’s Employer?
- Does the participation of a supervisor with knowledge of protected whistleblowing in the decision to take an adverse personnel action prove knowledge under the False Claims Act whistleblower protection provision?
- Can a False Claims Act whistleblower retaliation plaintiff obtain double back pay (two times lost wages and benefits)?
- Are employees whose jobs require investigating fraud against the government required to meet a higher pleading standard?
- Are “duty speech” disclosures protected under the False Claims Act?
- What protections are available to federal contractor whistleblowers under the NDAA whistleblower protection law?
- Can False Claims Act whistleblowers use confidential documents to report fraud to the government?
- What is the purpose of the False Claims Act whistleblower protection provision?
- Does the False Claims Act protect a whistleblower who refuses to violate the Act?
Experienced Washington DC False Claims Act Qui Tam Whistleblower Attorneys Representing Whistleblowers Nationwide
The experienced whistleblower attorneys at leading whistleblower law firm Zuckerman Law have substantial experience representing whistleblowers disclosing fraud and other wrongdoing at government contractors and grantees. To schedule a confidential consultation, click here or call us at 202-262-8959.
Our experience includes:
- Representing whistleblowers in NDAA retaliation claims before the Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice Offices of Inspectors General.
- Litigating False Claims Act retaliation cases.
- Representing qui tam relators in False Claims Act cases.
- Representing whistleblowers disclosing fraud on the government in Congressional investigations.
- Training judges, senior Office of Inspector General officials, and federal law enforcement about whistleblower protections.
In addition, we have substantial experience representing whistleblowers under the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) and enforcing the WPA, the law that the NDAA whistleblower provisions are based upon. Two of the attorneys on our team served in senior positions at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel overseeing investigations of whistleblower retaliation claims and whistleblower disclosures.
Jason Zuckerman served as Senior Legal Advisor to the Special Counsel at OSC, where he worked on the implementation of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act and several high-profile investigations, including a matter resulting in the removal of an Inspector General.
Before hiring a lawyer for a high-stakes whistleblower case, assess the lawyer’s reputation, prior experience representing whistleblowers, knowledge of whistleblower laws and prior results. And consider the experience of other whistleblowers working with that attorney. See our client testimonials by clicking here.
- U.S. News and Best Lawyers® have named Zuckerman Law a Tier 1 firm in Litigation – Labor and Employment in the Washington DC metropolitan area.
- Dallas Hammer has extensive experience representing whistleblowers at government contractors in retaliation and rewards claims and has written extensively about cybersecurity whistleblowing. He was selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® in the category of employment law in 2021 and 2022.
- Described by the National Law Journal as a “leading whistleblower attorney,” founding Principal Jason Zuckerman has established precedent under a wide range of whistleblower protection laws and obtained substantial compensation for his clients and recoveries for the government in whistleblower rewards and whistleblower retaliation cases. He served on the Department of Labor’s Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the Secretary of Labor to improve OSHA’s administration of federal whistleblower protection laws. Zuckerman also served as Senior Legal Advisor to the Special Counsel at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the federal agency charged with protecting whistleblowers in the federal government. At OSC, he oversaw investigations of whistleblower claims and obtained corrective action or relief for whistleblowers.
- Matt Stock is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner and former KPMG external auditor. As an auditor, Stock developed an expertise in financial statement analysis and internal controls testing and fraud recognition. He uses his auditing experience to help whistleblowers investigate and disclose complex financial frauds to the government.
- Zuckerman was recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” (2020, 2018, 2017, 2015, 2009, and 2007), selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® in the category of employment law (2011-2021) and in SuperLawyers in the category of labor and employment law (2012 and 2015-2021), is rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo, based largely on client reviews, and is rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell based on peer reviews
- We have published extensively on whistleblower rights and protections, and speak nationwide at seminars and continuing legal education conferences. We blog about new developments under whistleblower retaliation and rewards laws at the Whistleblower Protection Law and SEC Awards Blog, and in 2019, the National Law Review awarded Zuckerman its “Go-To Thought Leadership Award” for his analysis of developments in whistleblower law.
- Our attorneys have been quoted by and published articles in leading business, accounting, and legal periodicals, including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, MarketWatch, Vox, Accounting Today, Going Concern, Law360 – Expert Analysis, Investopedia, The National Law Review, inSecurities, Government Accountability Project, S&P Global Market Intelligence, Risk & Compliance Magazine, The D&O Diary, The Compliance and Ethics Blog, Compliance Week and other printed and electronic media.
Zuckerman Law has written extensively about whistleblower protections for employees of government contractors and grantees, including the following articles and blog posts:
- Whistleblower Protections Under the National Defense Authorization Act.
- Boosting Contractor Employee Whistleblower Protections, Law 360 (December 2016)
- New Tools to Combat Whistleblower Retaliation, Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund Quarterly Review, Vol. 57 (October 2010)
- GAO Report Calls for Improvements in Government Contractor Whistleblower Protections
- False Claims Act Retaliation Decision Underscores Broad Scope of FCA Whistleblower Protection
- NDAA Provides Robust Whistleblower Protection
- FAR Amendment Bars Agencies from Subsidizing Whistleblower Retaliation
- NDAA Contractor Whistleblower Protection Law Highly Effective in Rooting Out Fraud
- Congress Enacts Anti-Gag Provision in Cromnibus Spending Bill
- Whistleblower Lawyer Jason Zuckerman Will Speak About False Claims Act Litigation at Taxpayers Against Fraud Conference
- Whistleblower Protections Under the Whistleblower Protection Act, Practical Law (October 2016)
- Whistleblower Lawyer Jason Zuckerman Quoted in National Law Journal
- Whistleblower Lawyer Jason Zuckerman Quoted About Federal Employee Whistleblower Rights
- Washington Post Quotes Whistleblower Attorney Jason Zuckerman About Chilling Effect of Insider Threat Program
- How to foster a more ethical culture
- Whistleblower Lawyer Jason Zuckerman Quoted About MacLean Whistleblower Protection Act Case
- Trump Questionnaire Raises Concerns About Retaliation Against Energy Department Staff
- CFPB official wants to silence a whistleblower before he can talk to Congress
Whistleblower Protections for Employees of Federal Contractors and GranteesWhistleblower Protections Under the National Defense Authorization Act (w-008-5821)