California Whistle Blower Collects $4.25M for Exposing Government Fraud

A former California Department of Education employee recently collected $4.25 million after exposing the Department for alleged fraudulent activity which resulted in workplace retaliation. Whistle blower lawsuits – often referred to as qui-tam lawsuits – award the person that exposes the activity with a substantial percentage of the award.

Corruption uncovered

According to news reports, the now former employee of the California Department of Education came forward after discovering that the Department was involved in corrupt practices regarding community outreach programs designed to teach English and citizenship topics to immigrants. The problem was – many of the schools that were supposedly receiving money never existed.

He reported that $11 million had been misappropriated by the Department. However, instead of being rewarded for his integrity, the Department transferred him to a position without any responsibilities. He suffered two heart attacks and is now confined to a wheelchair which he claims is due to the stress of the transfer and with how the Department handled the situation.

How do whistle-blower lawsuits work?

Lawsuits filed on behalf of the government by private citizens for false claims or fraud under the False Claims Act. False claims generally include not delivering goods that were sold, overcharging for goods or services, making false statements about the quality of a product, improperly testing a product or any other scheme that is designed to defraud the government.

The person who files the lawsuit is known as a ‘relator’ and must comply with the requirements of the False Claims Act. If the suit is successful, the relator may generally recover between 15 – 30% of the government’s total recovery along with additional civil penalties. Verdicts and settlements can reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars, so a relator’s percentage can be substantial.

Substantial: defined

Whistle blower / qui-tam fraud lawsuits often equate to very big settlements – although the process usually takes several years and can be quite complicated. Settlements can be substantial – as these recent settlements illustrate:

  • AstraZeneca: $355M
  • Amerigroup: $334M
  • Bayer: $257M
  • Medco Health: $155M
  • Pfizer: $49M

If the relator collects 15 – 30% of that… Well, we’ll let you do the math.

If you’ve uncovered fraud or corruption against a government entity, you may have a valid lawsuit. An experienced attorney can help you with the process. To discuss your situation with a qualified attorney, please click here. Consultations are strictly confidential, free and without any obligation.

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