Using the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act to combat frauds related to the COVID-19 Outbreak
The Coronavirus pandemic is leaving the door open to fraudsters and criminals who want to take advantage of the crisis. With billions of dollars in federal spending allocated to fight this outbreak as well as millions more spent on health programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, it is essential to ensure this money does not fall into the hands of fraudsters. Several whistleblower laws protect individuals who report frauds related to the fallout of the pandemic. A patchwork of federal and state laws cover federal, state, and private sector employees. This patchwork of laws makes whistleblower protections for coronavirus fraud whistleblowers extremely confusing and creates loopholes that can allow retaliation to occur. It is important for those considering blowing the whistle on fraud to seek legal help from an experienced whistleblower attorney.
Frequently Asked Questions
Coronavirus fraud can take several forms. The massive amount of federal spending will lead to misplaced funds and money stolen from taxpayers. Fraudsters will try to sell fake vaccines and treatments to consumers, targeting the elderly, and higher-risk populations.
Many laws, including federal, state, and private sector laws, cover frauds related to coronavirus. The most powerful law covering coronavirus frauds is the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.
Whistleblowers should use the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act to report allegations of coronavirus fraud. Qui tam whistleblowers can confidentially file lawsuits in federal court and receive monetary rewards from the government for their efforts.
The laws covering coronavirus frauds are complicated and can be different for every case. It is essential to seek the representation of an experienced qui tam attorney.
Yes. Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto represents many whistleblowers who reside outside of the United States.
Whistleblowers who report frauds in government sponsored programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, are protected under the extremely powerful and effective qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. A majority of states have also passed False Claims Act laws covering state and local medical spending.
Yes. The False Claims Act can cover inadequate medical care is provided in violation of federal or state rules. Also nursing homes, where the coronavirus has hit particularly hard, are often paid for by Medicaid, are covered under the False Claims Act.
Yes. For example the Securities and Exchange Commission have already taken enforcement actions against companies for making false statements about the medical efficacy of their products. Fraud laws, such as those covering the SEC and tax evasion and frauds, have very effective whistleblower reward provisions.
Qui tam relators are paid directly by the government from recoveries obtained in successful False Claims Act cases. The payments range between 15 and 30 percent of the entire recovery.
This depends on the law. If the case concerns illegal conduct by a publicly traded company the whistleblower may be able to use the anonymous filing rules under the SEC whistleblower program. If the case concerns Medicare and Medicaid supported health programs, the claim is governed by the filing rules of the False Claims Act. Under the FCA the initial complaint is filed confidentially, and your identity is protected during the government’s investigatory process. However, once a case is prosecuted, settled or dismissed, the case may become a matter of public record.