FAST FACTS & TALKING POINTS
Routine mistakes and errors are not prosecuted under the False Claims Act
The False Claims Act is not used to correct minor billing mistakes or errors, as these frauds are not systematic, and rarely amount to truly large sums of money.
Drug company frauds are pervasive and large
Settlement of just 80 drug manufacturing cases has returned over $19 billion to the U.S. Government and the 50 states as of May 2012.
The False Claims Act provides some employment protections
If an employee is fired, demoted, harassed, or otherwise discriminated against for filing a False Claims Act suit, the law provides for reinstatement, double back pay, and compensation for special damages, including litigation costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.
Frivolous lawsuits are discouraged
Because most False Claims Act lawyers work on a contingency basis, they only get paid if they win. This means that they are unlikely to invest time, money and energy building a case that they themselves do not feel will be productive. In addition, under the False Claims Act, a complainant can be required to pay the defendants attorney’s fees if the court finds that the claim was frivolous or brought primarily for purposes of harassment.
Big cases require big investments
Big fraud cases prosecuted under the False Claims Act often require many years of litigation and investigation. For example, the whistleblower in the first Columbia-HCA fraud case spent 13 years pursuing his False Claims Act lawsuit. The law firm that spearheaded this case invested more than 85,000 hours in the case. In the end, the various frauds perpetrated by Columbia-HCA returned over $1.5 billion to the U.S. Treasury.
Cheaters pay whistleblower awards
Companies cheating the U.S. Government pay whistleblower rewards – not one dime comes from U.S. taxpayers. The reason for this is that the False Claims Act calls for triple damages so that the Government can be made whole, not only by recouping the cost of whistleblower awards, but also by recovering the cost of investigations, prosecutions, and lost interest.
The government counts on whistleblowers
More than 80 percent of the False Claims Act cases that are now pursued by the U.S. Department of Justice are initiated by whistleblowers.