Fraud Against Georgia State Or Local Governments - What Is The Procedure For A Whistleblower Lawsuit?
Georgia's Taxpayer Protection False Claims Act was enacted in 2012 to combat theft of taxpayer dollars by private contractors, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and others who defraud the State and local governments. To protect the public interest, the law provides substantial compensation for whistleblowers who bring a successful lawsuit on behalf of the government to recover money obtained through the submission of false claims to the Georgia Medicaid program, any Georgia county, municipality, town, school district, hospital authority, MARTA, or other political subdivision.
If you believe you have a case, you should contact our experienced attorneys to represent you and help you present your case to the government and the court. The lawsuit must be filed under seal within six years of the date the fraud was committed or three years after the responsible government official reasonably should have known of the fraud (four years in the case of Medicare fraud). The lawsuit may not be brought more than ten years after the fraud.
The case will be brought in the name of the State of Georgia or local government and will need approval from the Georgia Attorney General. The individual who blows the whistle in these cases is known as the "relator," and the lawsuit is called a "qui tam" suit. It is important not to publicly disclose your allegations. After the lawsuit is filed, it will remain under seal for sixty days or longer with court approval. "Under seal" means that the suit will be kept secret from everyone except the government. During this time, the government can investigate, including requesting documents and conducting interviews, and decide whether or not it wants to "intervene."
If the government does decide to intervene and pursue the case, it has primary responsibility for the case and decides whether to settle or dismiss the action. With government intervention, the relator will receive 15-25 percent of the proceeds. If, however, the government declines to intervene, the relator has the right to conduct the action on behalf of the government. Without government intervention, the relator will receive 25-30 percent of the proceeds. In either event, the law protects the relator against discharge, harassment, and other discrimination from employers based on the relator's participation in the suit.
Butler Wooten & Peak LLP, has experience handling these qui tam lawsuits and has obtained several substantial recoveries in false claims cases. We have obtained well over $100 million in settlements in non-intervened cases. We have knowledgeable Georgia whistleblower attorneys and the resources to handle these cases on a contingency basis, relieving our clients of the financial risk associated with bringing a lawsuit.
Contact Butler Wooten & Peak LLP
If you are aware of fraudulent claims submitted to the government, a qui tam lawsuit under the Georgia Taxpayer Protection False Claims Act may be your opportunity to do the right thing and get compensated for it. Contact us today for a free consultation.