False Claims Act
The False Claims Act (FCA), also referred to as the “Lincoln Law” protects whistleblowers, while compensating them for their troubles in coming forward about certain legal issues within systems. The FCA was passed during the Civil War in order to press charges against those who sold faulty equipment and horses to soldiers, hence the name “Lincoln Law.” This act has been updated many times since its passage, but the purpose is still clear: stop fraudulent actions and compensate those who are willing to report the actions.
Citizens who come forward are referred to as “relators” under the FCA. Relators often have the power to see what the federal government may miss, or blatantly ignore. Since relators actually act as private attorneys general, they are able to receive their cut of the recovered funds as a compensation for the risk they took in coming forward.
If a person discovers some sort of fraudulent action taking place within their employment unit that involves government funding and fraud, the person is expected and encouraged to come forward. Under the FCA, the person who came forward can receive 15 to 25 percent of the recovered funds from their report. In certain cases, they can even receive 30 percent of the recovered funds.
In recent years, the FCA has been the basis of a tremendous crackdown on health care providers who gave unnecessary care, offered kickbacks, and overcharged federal healthcare programs for medical care. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice recovered over $3.5 billion in FCA violation cases. This amount is projected to be even higher after the 2016 year, since the trend of stricter enforcement has already begun.