False Claims Act Attorney
Under the False Claims Act, Congress empowers private citizens with knowledge of fraudulent claims being made against the federal government to file suit on behalf of the government to recover compensatory damages, stiff civil penalties, and treble damages.
Congress enacted the False Claims Act during the Civil War when the war effort kept the government from investigating and prosecuting fraud. Under the False Claims Act, Congress empowered private citizens with knowledge of fraudulent claims being made against the federal government to file suit on behalf of the government to recover compensatory damages, stiff civil penalties, and treble damages.
If you have knowledge of an organization or company that has defrauded the federal government, you have the chance to not only do your civil duty of reporting that theft, but also the opportunity to be heavily rewarded. By acting as a whistleblower, individuals with knowledge of false claims have the ability to file lawsuits on behalf of the federal government. To learn more, the Simms Showers false claims attorneys can answer any questions you may have.
Qui Tam Lawsuits
The federal government recovered over $2.2 billion in fraud and false claims settlements and judgments in 2020. This was largely made possible by whistleblowers. The False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 – 3733 (also known as the Lincoln Law), is a federal statute that enables private citizens to act as whistleblowers on behalf of the government when they have knowledge of fraudulent claims being made against the federal government. The whistleblower is allowed to sue for damages, including treble damages, which are up to three times the actual economic harm that was caused to the government. As an incentive for individuals to come forward, whistleblowers can be heavily rewarded when these false claim lawsuits, called Qui Tam lawsuits, are successful.
Examples of False Claims
There are many ways in which an individual, organization, or corporation/business can cheat a governmental program, which is the essence of a false claim. Examples of false claims include:
- Kickbacks and Self Referral—Medical providers are prohibited from paying or compensating patients to use their services when billing Medicare, Medicaid, or another federally funded healthcare program, which is considered self referral and is a violation of the Stark Law. Similarly, pharmaceutical companies and other medical device manufacturers are prohibited from paying or compensating physicians or hospitals to use their drugs or devices.
- False billing—There are many types of false billing to a federally funded healthcare program. Examples include billing a patient more than once, overbilling for services, unbundling services that would otherwise be less expensive, and upcoding.
- False cost reports—Nursing homes, hospitals, and other medical providers are prohibited from inflating overall costs incurred or falsifying the types of costs when seeking reimbursement from the federal government, which assists these facilities with patient care, overhead, financing, and more.
While false claims are extremely prevalent in the healthcare industry, as described above, they occur in other industries as well, including defense contractors, Department of Housing and Urban Development building contractors, companies that falsely claim government approval, and manufacturers who knowingly sell defective products and lie about passing certifications.
Experienced False Claims Act / Qui Tam Attorneys
We are recognized as one of the nation’s leading law firms working in the area of civil False Claims Act litigation. In May, 1995, the Firm assisted the U.S. Government in concluding a Medicare fraud case with the third largest False Claims Act recovery (US $8.6 million) paid by a national medical testing laboratory. We currently represent clients in several pending False Claims Act cases across the United States, including cases involving:
- Fraud by defense contractors who conspired with suppliers to set artificially low prices on cost-plus contracts;
- Fraud by building contractors on HUD projects, billing for substandard work and work not performed;
- Fraud by medical testing labs who billed the U.S. for tests that they never performed;
- Fraud by durable medical equipment suppliers selling inferior equipment as superior equipment;
- Fraud by mental health providers billing the U.S. for services by unqualified personnel, and services which never were performed;
- Fraud by pharmaceutical companies billing the U.S. for excessive amounts of drugs never used or usable by patients;
- Time sheet fraud by defense contractors, billing commercial work to government jobs;
- Fraud by companies which claimed government approvals which they in fact never had; and
- Fraud by a manufacturer which knowingly made defective products but sold them to the U.S., certifying that they met specifications.
The Firm has published a number of papers in this area and given seminars including Identifying, Bringing, and Winning a False Claims Act Case, 1997 ABA Annual Meeting, and Using the False Claims Act for Competitive Advantage, Maryland Bar Journal 28 (Jan.-Feb. 1997).
Simms Showers has a depth of knowledge about working with government prosecutors in False Claims Act cases. Many of its attorneys are former United States Department of Justice prosecutors. We work regularly with False Claims Act investigators to develop and evaluate False Claims Act cases.
Many of the Firm’s cases are originated by attorneys from other firms who have not worked in the False Claims Act area but who have clients they believe may have a False Claims Act case. Simms Showers works regularly with these attorneys through co-counsel arrangements.
Contact Our Team Today
The False Claims Act attorneys at Simms Showers have a vast resource of knowledge when it comes to working alongside the federal government to prosecute False Claims Act cases. Our attorneys have worked for the United States Department of Justice as prosecutors, and we routinely work as False Claims Act investigators. If your employer or another party is taking advantage of the federal government and taxpayers alike, call the False Claims Act attorneys at Simms Showers LLP today to schedule a free consultation.