Did you know that every year the US Government loses billions of dollars due to fraud? While it is not as blatant as it was when the Federal False Claims Act was first written, the fraud is still incredibly prevalent today. The good news is that as an individual, you can help the government save money and be rewarded for your patriotic duties.
The Federal False Claims Act was signed into law when Abraham Lincoln was president. This law helped to encourage people to turn in those who were defrauding the government, and in the process earn themselves a reward. During that time there was a lot of government contractor fraud going on. With the Civil War being fought, troops needed supplies. However, some merchants would sell defective supplies (such as cases of guns with nothing but sawdust inside, food rations that were already spoiled, and horses that were almost dead). The False Claims Act helped to reduce the governments costs, even after paying out the reward.
What You Can Do Today
Gone are the days of blatant fraud such as that which happened during the Civil War. But there is still a lot of fraud that occurs today. One of the most common ways is Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
The way it works is incredibly difficult to catch. Suppose someone using one of those two forms of government provided health insurance needs hospital services. Those operating the hospital see an easy way to make some money, so they admit the person to the hospital and use supplies and services. They may take 3 X-Rays and charge for 4, use 2 bandages to dress a wound and charge for 3, and the patient might stay for 1 night and the insurance is charged for 2 nights. Since there are a lot of people involved, and a lot of moving parts, its hard for anyone to notice that the fraud is occurring unless they have an inside view.
If you work for a medical organization and you notice there is fraud occurring, you can blow the whistle on your employer. The best part is that you dont have to worry about backlash; there are laws that protect whistleblowers helping them to remain anonymous (check the link for more details).
Contact a Qui Tam Attorney
The provision of the Federal False Claims Act that allows a reward for the whistleblower is called the Qui Tam clause. If you know of fraud occurring, enlist the help of a Qui Tam attorney to get the process rolling to stop the fraud and wanton misuse of money.