The False Claims Act, which is the law that provides for whistleblower lawsuits for those reporting fraud against the federal government, includes provisions that state whistleblowers generally get to share in the government recovery. The government obviously does this to motive persons that aware of fraud against the government to come forward and report it. A whistleblower suit needs to be successful as a result of trial or settlement for a person to recover. That being said, the recoveries, and as a result, the compensation to whistleblowers can be considerable. Some of the largest recoveries by the government have actually run into the billions of dollars.
One of the key points in determining whistleblower compensation is whether the government decides to “intervene” in the case. When a suit is filed under the False Claims Act, it is filed under seal. This means that it is filed with the court confidentially and secretly. No one is aware the suit is filed until the court ultimately unseals the case. While the case is sealed, it is sent to (served upon) the United States Attorney and Department of Justice. In addition, documents supporting the suit are also sent to the government attorneys so that they can assess the case. This is one reason it is important to have good and experienced whistleblower attorneys. A whistleblower should work closely with his or her counsel to compile all documents that support their case and then submit a compelling package to the government.
If the government intervenes in the case, the whistleblower usually receive between 15% and 25% of the total recovery. If the government does not intervene and there is ultimately a recovery, the client can receive between 25% and 30% of the recovery. That being said, it is almost always preferable to have the government intervene. Although the recovery to the whistleblower can be slightly less, intervention means that your case has all of the resources of the United States Government behind it including the Department of Justice and federal investigators. Exactly what percentage of the recovery the whistleblower gets depends signficantly on how much the whistleblower assists in the investigation.
Our firm handles whistleblower cases on a contingency basis so that the client does not risk accumulating a significant legal bill in the event the case in not successful. If you have any questions about whistleblower actions or are aware of anyone defrauding the government, please feel free to contact us for a free confidential consultation regardless of where you are.