The Tennessee Whistleblower Attorneys with our firm
Have the Skills, Experience, And Commitment To Succeed
The skilled Tennessee whistleblower attorneys at the Burkhalter Law Firm represent individuals in a variety of whistleblower actions under the False Claims Act, as well as in whistleblower actions under the laws and regulations of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”).
General Information about the False Claims Act
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln enacted the the False Claims Act (which came to be known as “Lincoln’s Law”) in order to combat the widespread fraud that was occurring during the Civil War when contractors were defrauding the Government: “[F]or sugar it often got sand; for coffee, rye; for leather, something no better than brown paper; for sound horses and mules, spavin beasts and dying donkeys; and for serviceable muskets and pistols, the experimental failures of sanguine inventors, or the refuse of shops and foreign armories….
“Unfortunately, cheating the Government has been a long standing practice. As Benjamin Franklin once observed: “There is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall than that of defrauding the government.”
The False Claims Act (“FCA”) was substantially strengthened in 1986 and, in recent years, has resulted in the Government recovering numerous multi-million dollar settlements from companies and individuals for violations of the FCA. An FCA violation occurs whenever a person or entity deceives the Government in order to improperly obtain money from the Government, or in order to improperly be relieved from paying money to the U.S. Government. The definition of a false claim is extremely broad and encompasses several types of activity. The FCA prohibits “submitting or causing to submit” a false claim. The FCA makes it illegal for a company or individual to present a false claim for reimbursement to the Government where there is “deliberate ignorance” or “reckless disregard” of the claim’s falsity. In other words, ignorance is no excuse. The FCA also prohibits conspiring with another to get a false claim paid. The law has been interpreted to cover false claims that are submitted as a “condition of payment” when there is a false certification of compliance with Federal or State laws and/or regulations therewith.
Under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729, private citizens (called “Relators”) can help the Government fight fraud. The FCA allows ordinary citizens who have knowledge of fraudulent acts to bring suit on behalf of the Government against those who have defrauded the Government by filing false claims. If money is recovered for the action, then the Relator bringing the case is entitled to a percentage of the total amount recovered. This amount can range anywhere from 15% to 30% of the amount recovered. Since 1986, private citizens have received over a billion dollars as a result of these cases.
The FCA creates liability for separate $5,500 to $11,000 civil fines for each false claim and provides for treble damages. The amount of recovery for the Government can be significant, and therefore, the potential rewards for the whistleblowers (i.e., Relators) can also be significant, depending on the activity disclosed. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, since 1986 the U.S. Government has collected more than $6 billion dollars as a result of private whistleblower lawsuits brought under the False Claim
IN NEED OF LEGAL REPRESENTATION from a skilled Employment lawyer located in knoxville tennessee?
The Knoxville whistleblower attorneys at The Burkhalter Law Firm will evaluate whether you have a valid case under the relevant laws and regulations. The case evaluation is free. If the attorneys agree to represent you in such a case, then you do not owe any attorneys fee if there no recovery. Please do not hesitate to speak out against fraud.
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The False Claims Act’s
The FCA statute also contains an anti-retaliation provision, which protects employees, contractors, and agents from several forms of retaliation, including discharge, demotion, suspension, threats, harassment, and discrimination. These protections apply even before a qui tam case is filed. If an individual has, in fact, been retaliated against under this law, then that individual can be entitled to some of the following forms of relief: Reinstatement (with the same seniority status as before the retaliation took place), two (2) times the amount of back pay, and compensation for any special damages, including litigation costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.