Holman & Stefanowicz, LLC has successfully represented private citizens who have knowledge that false or fraudulent claims for payment were submitted to the government by private businesses. One of their cases was settled for $4,850,000.00. Cases such as these are referred to as False Claim Act cases or qui tam cases, and they are brought by private citizens to recover damages on behalf of the government as a result of a false and fraudulent claims.
Who can bring a False Claims Act case? The person who brings a claim under the Act is known as a Relator. The Relator must be the original source of the information giving rise to the claim. The Act defines an original source as someone who voluntarily provides information to the federal government about fraud before filing suit. 31 U.S.C. §3730(e)(4)(B). The original source must have "direct and independent knowledge" of the information underlying the allegations in the lawsuit, rather than information that was the basis for prior public disclosure. Rockwell Int'l Corp. v. U.S., 549 U.S. 457, 470-71 (2007).
A Relator alleging fraud must disclose knowledge of the fraud to the Department of Justice before filing suit. The qui tam action is then filed under seal in federal court. The government has 60 days within which to investigate the alleged fraud and determine whether to intervene. 31 U.S.C. §3730(b)(2). Courts routinely grant the government extensions, and some cases remain under seal for years before the government decides to intervene. If the government intervenes, DOJ takes over the prosecution of the case. When the government exercises its right to intervene, the case is unsealed and the defendant is served. A Relator is entitled to notice of any settlement and is entitled to a hearing on the Relator's share of the settlement. If the government declines to intervene in the qui tam action, the Relator may proceed with the action against the defrauding contractor or entity, at which time the action will be unsealed and served on the defendant. 31 U.S.C. §3730(c)(3).
If successful, a qui tam Relator can recover 15 percent to 30 percent of the government's total recovery, which varies primarily based on whether the government decides to intervene into the lawsuit. 31 U.S.C. §3730(d)(1)-(2).
Partners Brian Holman and Dennis Stefanowicz have the experience to evaluate and prosecute your case to resolution. Mr. Holman was responsible for drafting the briefs in connection with the landmark qui tam decision in U.S. ex rel. Sharp v. Consolidated Medical Transport, Inc., No. 96 C 6502, 2001 WL 1035720 (N.D. Ill., Sept. 4, 2001). Further, partners Brian Holman and Dennis Stefanowicz have published an in-depth article on the topic of calculating damages in Promissory Fraud cases; see: Understanding Damages Calculations in Promissory Fraud False Claims Act Cases: A Primer for Relator's Counsel Practicing in the Seventh Circuit after U.S. vs. Anchor Mortgage (Trial Journal, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, 2016).
If you have knowledge of false or fraudulent claims being submitted to the government, call Holman & Stefanowicz, LLC at 312-258-9700 to evaluate your potential claim. We can help determine whether you have a claim and guide you through the complicated procedure for filing a False Claim Act case.