We represent whistleblowers against companies that commit fraud against the United States government. We understand that deciding whether to become a whistleblower can be one of the most difficult decisions an individual has to make. Most defendants that commit fraud against the government are large corporations with considerable resources. When accused of defrauding the government, they often attempt to overwhelm the whistleblower and whistleblower’s lawyers with “scorched earth” litigation. Whistleblowers cannot fight this battle or navigate this difficult journey alone. We understand not only the process but also the psychology of all the players involved, and we can defeat the large defense firms in complex litigation and at trial.
When we agree to represent a whistleblower, we evaluate the case independently. That means that, unlike many other law firms that represent whistleblowers, we will not be deterred from prosecuting a meritorious case if, as often happens, the government decides not to pursue the case.
If a whistleblower has a strong case, then we will fight to the end, even if the government sits on the sidelines. Our clients’ fights are our fights, and we are with them from preparing the filing of the complaint to the day the money is recovered.
What is fraud against the government?
Fraud against the government can take many forms, but it most typically occurs when private government contractors submit false claims by over-billing the government in connection with government contracts. Some common examples are Medicare and Medicaid fraud and over-billing in connection with defense contracts.
How are whistleblowers rewarded?
The federal False Claims Act contains qui tam provisions that allow private individuals to bring lawsuits against private companies that submit false claims against the government. Whistleblowers who meet the requirements of the False Claims Act and provide information that results in a recovery by the government are entitled to receive between 15 and 30 percent of the total amount recovered.
How can a whistleblower pursue a claim?
Once a person discovers evidence of fraud against the government and decides to blow the whistle, that person should hire a lawyer. The whistleblower can then file a qui tam complaint and supporting documents “under seal,” which means that only the government knows about the lawsuit. This allows the government to investigate the allegations and decide whether to join in the lawsuit against the company alleged to have committed fraud. If the government decides to intervene, the government participates in the litigation and the whistleblower is entitled to receive between 15 and 25 percent of whatever amount the government eventually recovers.
Unless and until the Court orders otherwise, the whistleblower must not disclose the filing of the lawsuit to anyone other than the whistleblower’s lawyers.
What happens if the Government does not join the lawsuit?
In the vast majority of qui tam lawsuits, the government decides not to intervene. The False Claims Act, however, allows the whistleblower to continue pursuing his or her claim as a private litigant. If the whistleblower recovers money from the defendant without the aid of the government, the recovery still goes to the government, but the whistleblower is entitled to receive between 25 and 30 percent of the total recovery.
How should whistleblowers choose a law firm?
Hiring the right law firm is critical for whistleblowers. The defendants in these cases typically are large, well-funded corporations. Those corporations generally hire the largest and best defense law firms in the country. Accordingly, whistleblowers need a firm that has the experience and desire to litigate against the best defense firms in the country, and the ability to beat them.
How can Weisbrod Matteis & Copley help?
Like all whistleblower law firms, we assist whistleblowers in putting together their cases and filing their confidential complaints. Like many other firms, we then assist the Department of Justice in its investigation so the government has the information it needs when deciding whether to intervene in the lawsuit. It is in cases where the government decides not to intervene that WMC differs from most other law firms. At WMC, we do not decide whether to continue our pursuit of a whistleblower’s claim based on the government’s decision to intervene or not to intervene. We are trial lawyers who have the experience, desire and ability to litigate meritorious claims to conclusion, regardless of whether the government participates. Our commitment to go forward may require years of investigation, court hearings and a trial, but we will accept that burden, regardless of what the government decides to do, if we and our client jointly conclude that the case warrants that effort.