Federal False Claims Act Attorneys in Texas and Tennessee
The federal False Claims Act authorizes individuals to file "qui tam" actions against companies that have defrauded the federal government, most frequently through fraud in government contracting or benefits programs. The whistleblower is entitled by law to a fee of 15 to 30 percent of the amount recovered by the government, plus attorney fees and costs. If you are aware of fraudulent practices in government contracting at your company, contact the Provost Umphrey Law Firm L.L.P. in Beaumont, Texas, or Nashville, Tennessee, for a free consultation.
Blowing the Whistle on Government Contract Fraud? Call 888-588-1695
Provost Umphrey is experienced with the successful representation of whistleblowers in qui tam lawsuits brought under the False Claims Act, and we have a 15-year record of accomplishment across a range of situations, including:
- $400 million settlement in Texas against major oil companies for underpaying government royalties for oil drilled on government land
- $82.6 million judgment in Tennessee against a health care company for Medicare fraud
- $57 million settlement against a defense contractor for selling helicopters with defective gears
Litigation under the False Claims Act can be challenging both procedurally and factually, and a reporting employee, consultant or company official can lose the right to payment through errors in reporting the claim to federal authorities or initiating the lawsuit. Provost Umphrey's experienced qui tam lawyers, Michael Havard in Beaumont and Michael Hamilton in Nashville can help you make the most of your claim while putting a stop to fraudulent contracting.
How the False Claims Act Works
The False Claims Act essentially authorizes individuals to recover federal government fraud losses on the government's behalf. Lawsuits can be filed against companies that have defrauded the Federal Government under the Medicare or Medicaid programs, in defense contracting, or under any other federal contract or program. Even pharmaceutical fraud or securities fraud cases can be filed as qui tam actions under the right circumstances.
The whistleblower reporting the fraud, usually a current or former employee of the fraudulent contractor company, is known formally as the "relator." Anyone who is an original source of information as to the wrongdoing can file a qui tam action under the False Claims Act.
Qui tam actions begin with a civil lawsuit filed under seal in U.S. District Court. Rather than serving the complaint on the defendant company, the first step is for the appropriate federal agency and the U.S. Attorney's Office to investigate the allegations. The investigative stage of a complex qui tam action can take as long as one or two years.
Presenting the Case Against the Defendant After Government Investigation
The federal government then has the option to join the lawsuit with the U.S. Attorney for the district as lead counsel in cooperation with the original whistleblower's legal team. The government can also choose not to pursue the action, which allows the whistleblower to proceed independently with the fraud case under the False Claims Act.
Penalties for Government Fraud Include Triple Damages and Attorney Fees
Defendants found liable for violations of the False Claims Act are exposed to heavy penalties. Companies engaged in fraud must pay three times the government's damages plus an additional penalty for each false claim for payment it has been found to have submitted. The defendant must also pay the attorney fees, costs and expenses of the whistleblower's lawyer.
Provost Umphrey attorneys can advise you about your legal options at all stages of a qui tam case, and we can also protect you from the employment-related risks of reporting fraud through the qui tam procedure. As experienced trial attorneys comfortable with the litigation of complex commercial and financial claims, we can see your case through to conclusion whether or not the federal government decides to get involved.
We advise and represent qui tam and whistleblower clients in Texas, throughout the South and nationwide. For additional information about the qui tam litigation practice at the Provost Umphrey Law Firm, contact us in Beaumont or Nashville for a free consultation.