False Claims Act Qui Tam Whistleblower Rewards

The False Claims Act can award large financial rewards to those who report government fraud, abuse or waste.  The United States Department of Justice was able to recover over $3 billion in verdicts and settlements thanks to the False Claims Act in 2019. Since 1986 the government has recovered $62 billion.

Of the $3 billion recovered in 2019, more than $2.6 billion were from the health care industry. This includes medical device and drug manufacturers, hospitals, managed care providers, hospice organizations, and physician offices. Overbilling or incorrectly billing government insurance systems is fraud.

If someone becomes aware of a fraud, a qui tam lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act allows a whistleblower to report on the misdoing, and as an incentive to report they can recover up to 15 to 30 percent of any verdict, judgement or settlement. Of the $3 billion recovered in 2019, 70% of that was from whistleblowers filing qui tam lawsuits through the False Claims Act.

Qui Tam Rewards

Assistant General Hunt on the value and need for whistleblowers:

“Whistleblowers continue to play a critical role identifying new and evolving fraud schemes that might otherwise remain undetected. Taxpayers have benefitted greatly from these individuals who are often required to make substantial sacrifices to bring these schemes to light.”

Schneider Wallace has experienced qui tam lawyers. Schedule a consult with our whistleblower law firm for a free and private legal consultation. To speak with a qui tam, contact us at 1-800-689-0024 or info@schneiderwallace.com.

False Claims Act Reward

False Claim Act whistleblowers can be awarded 15 to 30 percent of the recovery. The upper limit of 30 percent occurs if the whistleblower, or relator in a qui tam case, proceeds without the government joining as a plaintiff. If the government joins the lawsuit, the maximum reward is 25 percent.

  • Government Joins Lawsuit: 15% to 25%
  • Government Does Not Join Lawsuit: 15% to 30%

This 15-25% or 15-30% includes not just the triple (treble) damages, but also the total of all penalties which can be up to $23,331 for each violation.  Awards under the False Claims Act can be substantial. The largest award to a whistleblower to date has been $250 million dollars. 

To determine the size of the whistleblower reward, the actions of the whistleblower in assisting the case are reviewed. Actions that can affect the award include:

  • Information quality: The more information supplied, and the more critical it was to prove the claims, the better the award.
  • Lawsuit assistance: A whistleblower whose efforts include not just reporting the crime, but assisting in the litigation to enforce the penalty will receive a larger award. This includes work by both the whistleblower and his/her personal attorney(s).
  • Complicity: While being a part of the misconduct will not stop a whistleblower from receiving an award, whistleblowers who were not part of the scheme may receive larger awards than those who assisted in the fraud.

The fact that you can receive a whistleblower reward even if you took part in the scheme is important. The government wants anyone who knows of an illegal act costing the taxpayers money through fraud or waste, to report their knowledge of the crime. Sometimes only those who were parties to an illegal scheme are aware of what misconduct is occurring. Whistleblowing can occur from the members of the scheme itself, and those whistleblowers can recover an award. If you are aware that your job requires you to commit, assist in, or ignore an ongoing fraud, you should seek a legal consult immediately regarding how to report the crime and put a stop to the criminal activity.

Qui Tam Settlements and Judgements

In 2019, these are the breakdowns for the total of whistleblower rewards given out in each division:

2019 False Claims Act Rewards: Qui Tam Settlement and Judgements     Relator / Whistleblower Rewards    
  US Intervened US Did Not Intervene TOTAL US Intervened US Did Not Intervene Reward Total
Health and Human Services $1,637,769,878 $272,135,976 $1,909,905,854 $176,017,786 $68,188,692 $244,206,479
Department of Defense $189,454,081 $350,000 $189,804,081 $5,308,743 $101,500 $5,410,243
Other $90,006,410 $20,685,022 $110,691,432 $16,365,217 $5,959,852 $223,250,609
TOTAL $1,917,230,369 $293,170,997 $2,210,401,366 $197,691,746 $74,250,044 $271,941,791

Healthcare and Drug Whistleblower Rewards:

Qui tam lawsuits for health and human services departments, such as those against hospitals or drug manufacturers, resulted in $1.9 billon in settlement and $244 million in rewards.  The $244 million rewarded to whistleblowers represents an average award of 13 percent.

Department of Defense Whistleblower Rewards:

Procurement Fraud is an important part of whistleblower claims. Procurement fraud can be more than just product substitution or overbilling, to read more about procurement fraud visit our procurement fraud page [insert link].

Qui tam lawsuits for DOD claims resulted in $5.4 million in payments to whistleblowers in 2019, less than the $14 million and $43 million awarded in 2018 and 2019. Defense contractor whistleblowers have averaged $24 million in rewards per year since 2009.

In 2019 the average whistleblower reward was 20% of the recovery by the government.

Other Qui Tam Rewards:

Whistleblowers reporting wrongdoing against the government and taxpayers, but outside of healthcare and defense contractors, were awarded $22.3 million in awards after helping the government recover nearly $200 million in 2019.

State Awards:

The awards listed above are only federal recoveries.  More than half of states have their own version of the False Claims Act and qui tam lawsuits, allowing reporting and rewarding of government waste at the state and local level. Each of these programs contains their own reward system for those who assist the governments in recovering from fraud.

Qui Tam Attorneys

Schneider Wallace represents whistleblowers, whether the violation is against the federal government, state government, or a local government. Schedule a consult with our whistleblower law firm for a free and private legal consultation.

To speak with a lawyer with years of experience handling both government whistleblower and contractor fraud cases, contact us at 1-800-689-0024 or info@schneiderwallace.com.

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