The Federal False Claims Act, also known as the Lincoln Law, allows whistleblowers to bring suit in the name of the government where a wrongdoer engages in conduct that defrauds the state or local governments of taxpayer dollars. The history of the law comes from the American Civil War, where there was fraud on all levels. The law is a broad-reaching statute designed to address an array of wrongdoing from health care fraud to fraud involving any type of government contract or business relationship involving state or local money. Florida generated their own state False Claims Act in 1994.
The Florida False Claims Act or the (Florida FCA) is violated by (1) submitting a false claim for payment, (2) generating or using a false record to get a false claim paid, (3) making or using a false record to avoid payments to the state, or (4) conspiring to generate a false claim or to have one paid. Penalties in these cases can range from $5,000 to $10,000 per claim and damages up to three times can be imposed to the state for Florida FCA violations. The timespan for filing lawsuits must be within (1) five years after the violation was committed, or (2) two years after the state official responsible for the investigation of the violation has become aware of the important facts.
Individuals who report fraud can receive between fifteen and twenty-five percent of the total amount recovered if the state prosecutes the case. If the individual who reports the fraud litigates the case on their own, they can receive between twenty-five and thirty percent. However, an individual cannot file a lawsuit based on public information unless he/she knows the source of that information. If an employee reports fraud and consequently suffers discrimination, he/she can sue their employers under the Florida Civil Rights Act.
Since its amendment in 1986, the Federal FCA has allowed the U.S. Government to recoup over $25 billion from private parties and companies that were found to have engaged in fraudulent practices during their relationship with the government. If you or a loved one has information of a company that is committing fraud, please contact an experienced attorney today. An experienced attorney can help you put together the facts and inform you of the best legal course. We invite you to contact us, The Curry Law Group, for your legal counsel and representation. We service the entire Tampa Bay Area and would like the chance to represent you.