When Do You Need a False Claims Act Lawyer? A Guide for Civilian Contractors

When Do You Need a False Claims Act Lawyer? A Guide for Civilian Contractors

Nov 17, 2023 | Defense Base Act

Did you know that settlements related to the False Claims Act accounted for more than $2 billion in 2022?

With a number like that, it’s clear that this act plays a major role in our legal system and is at the center of many lawsuits. The False Claims Act is the source of so much legal action because it’s applicable to many industries that work with the government. 

If you’re a civilian contractor and feel that someone is defrauding the government, you should consult a False Claims Act lawyer. Read on to learn more about the process and finding the right lawyer for you.

What Is the False Claims Act? 

Before getting a False Claims Act lawyer, it helps to understand what this act is about. The False Claims Act allows private citizens to sue individuals or companies that are defrauding the government. Because this is a whistleblower law, the individual reporting it can recover damages.

When the suit is filed on the government’s behalf, it’s referred to as qui tam. Qui tam lawsuits have led to many fraud investigations. As a whistleblower, you are eligible for 30% of the penalty. 

What Does a False Claims Act Lawyer Do? 

There are several steps in any lawsuit with the False Claims Act. First, the lawyer reviews the details from the whistleblower and the supporting evidence. Importantly, they determine what regulations were violated.

If there is sufficient evidence, the False Claims Act attorney prepares and presents a disclosure statement to the government. As required by the False Claims Act, this statement must include the details of the suspected fraud, the evidence, and the whistleblower’s information. 

What Happens Next? 

Upon receipt of the disclosure statement, the government determines if there has been fraud and if it can be proven in federal court. The major determinant is when the government reviews the regulations and decides if they are in agreement with the statement.

If government decides to move forward, there are two outcomes, which can affect the money you receive. The first option is for the Justice Department to assume the role of prosecutor. The second option is for the whistleblower and their lawyer to proceed on behalf of the government.

What Are the Protections for Civilian Contractors? 

The protection afforded to civilian contractors is provided through the Defense Base Act. This act applies to contractors who are U.S. citizens and those who are not, so long as they are working for a U.S. embassy. This act ensures that injured contractors receive compensation. 

Often, Defense Base Act clients become involved with the False Claims Act, whether they have witnessed fraud by their employer or another contracting company. This would necessitate a separate filing in accordance with the aforementioned steps. 

Do You Understand Your Rights Under the False Claims Act? 

Now that you understand the False Claims Act, what are you waiting for? If you feel that you’ve witnessed government fraud, there are options available to you, and incentives. Having a False Claims Act lawyer helps you navigate the process and get the maximum amount. 

If you live in the Houston, Texas, area and require legal assistance, contact the Barnes Law Firm for all your needs.