The False Claims Act is a statute that allows for “Whistleblowers” to bring claims against individuals or entities that have defrauded the federal government or its programs. It is the United States Government’s best way in the civil context to attack fraud committed against the Government and its programs.
The key part of the False Claims Act is what is known as the qui tam section that permits private citizens who are not involved with the Government or the fraudulent conduct to file claims in Federal Court on behalf of the Government. The individuals that files such actions are known as “Relators”. Relators or also known as “Whistleblowers” and can recover up to 15 to 25 percent of the amount recovered because of the fraud. The Federal Government obtained over $38 billion dollars under the False Claims Act from 1987 to 2013. Seventy percent of the 38 billion recovered or over 27 billion was from qui tam cases filed by Relators or Whistleblowers.
One famous False Claims Act case that is going to trial in May of 2018 involves Lance Armstrong, the well-known Tour de France racer. In the Lance Armstrong case, the Relator or Whistleblower Floyd Landis filed a False Claims Act case against Lance Armstrong. Floyd Landis had been a former team member with Lance Armstrong.
The case brought by Floyd Landis was taken over by the Federal Government which is seeking over 35 million dollars which can be trebled, which means tripled in amount. So, the total amount that the Government could obtain through a judgment would be over 100 million dollars. The theory of the case is that the Federal Government was defrauded, because Lance Armstrong’s team sponsor for the Tour de France races was the U.S. Post Office. Armstrong had been the subject of doping allegations ever since winning the 1999 Tour de France. In 2012, a United States Anti-Doping Agency found that Armstrong banned substances during his career. In addition, the UCI upheld the 2012 decision. The False Claims Act trial against Lance Armstrong is set for May of 2018.