Federal False Claims Act prohibits presenting a false or fraudulent claim for payment to the Federal Government, or causing the utilization of a fake record to get a claim paid by the Federal Government. It includes billing for work not performed, up coding, billing for unwanted services, and even billing for all services obtained in violation to other laws and/or regulations (such as the Anti-Kickback Statute). The bottom line: the False Claims Act covers fraud against the federal government.
1. Federal False Claim Act passed
Federal False Claim Act was originally passed in 1863. It was amended in 1986 to make it more realtors friendly. The number of cases filed since the 1986 amendments has risen from 33 in 1987 to 752 in 2013.
2. Awards to Whistleblowers
Since 1986, whistleblowers have been awarded nearly $4 billion. $439 million in awards in fiscal year 2012 and $385 million in 2013.
3. False Claims Act Damages
False Claims Act Damages includes treble damages, attorneys’ fees and penalties. The penalties are a mandatory $5500 - $11,000 per false claim.
4. Who can file a suit
Anyone with knowledge of the illegal conduct can bring suit. Suit must be brought within six years from the date of the false claim, or otherwise within three years after the Government knows or should have known of the false claim, but in never later than 10 years after the fake claim. If the allegations in the False Claims Act suit were already “publicly disclosed,” the realtor has to be the “original source” of the allegations.
5. Risks involved
Retaliation, if clearly frivolous, vexatious or brought for harassment, then the court may find the realtor liable for the defendant’s expenses and fees.
The success of False Claim Act case relies entirely on evidence that has not been previously disclosed. You need to be strong – this can be a taxing experience. If you have hard evidence, and are willing to take the risk, you may end up being rich.