How is the District of Columbia’s Whistleblower Law Different From Federal Law?
Each state has its own rules and regulations regarding filing a state qui tam whistleblower reward case. But to facilitate filing a state qui tam cases, Congress amended the federal False Claims Act to make it relatively easy to include District claims as part of a federal qui tam lawsuit. Other than filing requirements, the D.C. False Claims Act is substantially identical to the federal law, except that it covers D.C. government contracts, D.C. government procurement and the D.C. funds used in joint-federal programs like Medicaid or Medicare.
In the District of Columbia, whistleblowers can file a qui tam lawsuit against violators of The District of Columbia’s False Claim Act. If you are also filing a federal False Claims Act lawsuit, the D.C. claims can be included in that case. If our case does not involve federal funds, you must file the case in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (under seal), with a copy served on the D.C. Attorney General on the same day you file the lawsuit. For more information, the D.C. False Claims Act is available on the website of the D.C. Attorney General.
Types of Federal and Frauds Against the District Include:
- COVID-19 Frauds in which District of Columbia monies are used;
- Medicaid and Medicare Fraud committed by doctors, hospitals and other types of medical care facilities; Unnecessary medical procedures billed to Medicaid or Medicare; Illegal marketing of drugs by pharmaceutical companies. The D.C. False Claims Act would cover the monies spent by the District of Columbia. Healthcare fraud cases are almost always filed under both federal and state False Claims Acts, as these programs are generally funded by both federal and local monies;
- Education Fraud where for-profit colleges and universities violate the rules of the student loan programs improperly recruiting students to generate income;
- Bank & Mortgage Fraud where bankers submitting fraudulent claims for government insurance based on wrongful foreclosures;
- Underpayments to the District of Columbia: A reverse false claims action can occur when defendants knowingly make a false statement in order to avoid having to pay the government when payment is otherwise due.
- All claims covered under the federal False Claims Act that concern monies spent (or owed) to the District of Columbia;
- Fraud committed in obtaining contracts from the District of Columbia, or the willful failure to perform work under D.C. government contracts;
Violations of the Washington DC False Claims Act:
- [a fraudster] knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval;
- [a fraudster] knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim;
- [a fraudster] has possession, custody, or control of property or money used, or to be used, by the District and knowingly delivers, or causes to be delivered, less than all of that money or property;
- [a fraudster] is authorized to make or deliver a document certifying receipt of property used, or to be used, by the District and, intending to defraud the District, makes or delivers the receipt without completely knowing that the information on the receipt is true;
- [a fraudster] knowingly buys, or receives as a pledge of an obligation or debt, public property from an officer or employee of the District who lawfully may not sell or pledge property;
- [a fraudster] knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement material to an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the District, or knowingly conceals or knowingly and improperly avoids or decreases an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the District;
- [a fraudster] conspires to commit a violation of paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), or (6) of this subsection;
- [a fraudster] is a beneficiary of an inadvertent submission of a false or fraudulent claim to the District, subsequently discovers the falsity of the claim, and fails to disclose the false or fraudulent claim to the District; or
- [a fraudster] is the beneficiary of an inadvertent payment or overpayment by the District of monies not due and knowingly fails to repay the inadvertent payment or overpayment to the District.
Whistleblowers who present original information leading to sanctions against a violator of the DC False Claims Act, may file a qui tam lawsuit to receive protection and a reward. This includes actions against fraudsters who either present false claims to receive state or local government funds, embezzle these funds, or avoid paying the state back altogether.
If you’ve been witness to any violation of Washington, DC False Claims Act law, you should consider speaking with a whistleblower attorney in DC who can help explain the law to you to see what kind of federal and state whistleblower rewards you could be eligible for.
Fines for Violating the Washington DC False Claims Act
Any person who files a false or fraudulent claim shall be liable to the District for 3 times the amount of damages which the District sustains as a result of the claim(s), which range between $5,500 – $11,000 and does not include legal fees.
Whistleblowers who present original information leading to sanctions against a violator of the Washington DC False Claims Act, may file a qui tam lawsuit to receive protection and a possible reward. Successful whistleblowers who bring a qui tam suit may receive a portion of the government’s recovery, which is between 15% and 30%.
If you’re unsure whether you have a case, please get in touch with one of our DC attorneys for a free and confidential case evaluation. If Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto agrees to represent you, one of our founding partners will manage your case.
Federal and District of Columbia whistleblower protection laws allow employees to stop, report, or testify about an employer’s illegal, unhealthy, or unethical actions that violate public policies – without risking retaliation. Our Washington DC whistleblower lawyers have won cases, which set precedents preventing companies from using settlement agreements as a way to persuade an employee from reporting fraud to government regulators. Our attorneys have advocated for key reforms protecting federal employees to be included in the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act and have recommended provisions that strengthened protections for corporate employees to incorporate into the Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley Act.