The United States Government created the federal False Claims Act during the administration of President Abraham Lincoln. The purpose of the federal law, which has been amended several times, is to encourage whistleblowers to disclose evidence of fraud against the government in return for being awarded a percentage (10 to 30%) of any recoveries. The act has enabled the federal government to obtain billions of dollars.
California enacted its own state False Claims Act in 1987. The purpose of the state act is also to help the state recover money from entities that commit fraud and other types of misconduct for financial gain. Examples include doctors who overcharge Medicaid or charge Medicaid for services that weren’t rendered, government contractors who purposely provide sub-standard materials or charge for services that weren’t performed, mining companies that file false statements to avoid having to pay royalties, and businesses and individuals that make misrepresentations in order to gain California government contracts.
The California FCA allows the state Attorney General to seek treble damages and other penalties such as statutory damages, against wrongdoers. While many prosecutions are brought by the state based on information from their own investigators, the California FCA encourages whistleblowers to advise the State, with the help of legal counsel, of fraudulent actions by an employer or anyone.
In return for valid disclosures, whistleblowers (also known as qui tam plaintiffs) who bring claims that lead to awards are entitled to a percentage of the recovery. If the state declines to bring a qui tam action, then the whistleblower has the right, with legal help, to bring the fraud claim on his/her own.
If the state intervenes, then the qui tam plaintiff is generally entitled to 1/3 of the recovery. If the state declines to take the case and the qui tam plaintiff brings his/her own action, then the whistleblower may be entitled to between 25 and 50% of any recovery. California FCA also protects whistleblowers against retaliation, such as being fired from their job, for making a disclosure.
Whistleblower actions are filed under seal until California decides it is ready to bring a formal claim.
An experienced California whistleblower lawyers such as Stephen F. Danz and Associates will explain how to comply with the California False Claims Act so that he/she can be eligible for any recovery obtained by the state through settlement or trial. For strong advocacy, please phone us at (877)-789-9707.We have offices throughout California. We are skilled at bringing state and federal qui tam actions.