Blowing The Whistle On Fraud Against California
How A California Whistleblower Case Works
Protections Against Retaliation
Individuals who blow the whistle on fraud against the State of California are eligible for a reward if the State recovers money from the company committing the fraud. Cal. Gov’t Code § 12652(g). Rewards range from 15-50% of the amount recovered depending on whether the State intervenes the case or the individual plaintiff prosecutes the case alone. Cal. Gov’t Code § 12652(g)(2) and (3). Just last year, a whistleblower received a $46 million reward in a qui tam action against a contractor working for the State. The process begins with a State whistleblower (or “qui tam”) case brought under the California False Claims Act (“CFCA”). See Cal. Gov’t Code §§ 12650 et seq. The CFCA protects any whistleblower from employer retaliation. Cal. Gov’t Code § 12653. The whistleblower litigators at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent whistleblowers in CFCA cases against government contractors, product manufacturers, service providers, pharmaceutical companies, and other healthcare groups who defraud Medi-Cal or other State-run health programs. Our litigators can also represent you in any action against an employer who retaliates against you for blowing the whistle. If you have credible information for a California false claims case, call us today at (415)441-8669 and we can help.
Details of a Qui tam suit
A “qui tam” lawsuit is a suit filed by a private citizen on behalf of a government entity, against someone who sought to obtain government money by fraud. The individual bringing the suit is referred to as a “qui tam plaintiff” under the statute. Cal. Gov’t Code § 12652(c)(1). The qui tam complaint is filed in State court and kept under seal for 60 days. Cal. Gov’t Code § 12652(c)(2). On the same day that the complaint is filed, the qui tam plaintiff serves on the State Attorney General the complaint and a written disclosure of “substantially all material evidence and information” the person possesses that supports the complaint. Cal. Gov’t Code § 12652(c)(3). The State then has the 60-day seal period to consider whether it wishes to intervene in the case; if the State decides to intervene, it essentially takes over the case. If the State elects not to intervene, the qui tam plaintiff may continue the case on his or her own. If the qui tam plaintiff continues the case on his or her own, and the State recovers from defendant, the plaintiff is eligible for a larger percentage of the recovery than if the State had intervened and lead the prosecution.
California False Claims Act whistleblower protections
Under the California False Claims Act, employees–like any other private citizens–may file qui tam suits against their employers. In fact, current and former employees are very often the individuals who have information of fraud that is otherwise concealed from the outside world. The CFCA protects employees from any retaliation by their employers from bringing a case. Cal. Gov’t Code § 12653. Employees who experience workplace retaliation after opposing violations of the California False Claims Act may successfully sue their employers. The statute of limitations for a CFCA retaliation lawsuit is three (3) years after you are terminated or retaliated against. Cal. Gov’t Code § 12653(c).
Damages that you may receive in a successful CFCA wrongful termination suit include:
- Reinstatement in your former job;
- Twice the amount of lost back pay, plus interest on the back pay;
- Compensation for special damages (emotional suffering, reputational damage, etc.); and/or
- Reimbursement for litigation costs including your attorneys’ fees and expenses.
If you live in Alameda County or elsewhere in California and have information about fraud against the State of California, call Ingrid M. Evans and the other California whistleblower and false claims attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>.
Ingrid and the other attorneys also represent whistleblowers before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding tax avoidance schemes and before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in securities and investment fraud cases and in cases brought under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (“FIRREA”) for bank fraud.