Have you worked for a company that you believe has acted fraudulently in regards to its government contracts? Media outlets constantly share stories regarding workers bringing to light wrongful conduct by the businesses they work for. Some people caught in this situation may wonder how they could possibly set things right, but are afraid to take action because they feel alone and unguided. However, in New Jersey, there is a law that enables whistleblowers to shed light on such conduct and reap the rewards for doing so.
The New Jersey False Claims Act (NJFCA) is legislation enacted in 2008 that holds fraudulent government contractors to account and provides incentives for doing so. The Act applies, among other instances, when a government contractor files a claim for funds as payment for services it did not perform, thereby defrauding the government. Such claims are often brought against health care providers, but also against companies in the education and insurance sectors. If a person detects such fraud, he may bring a lawsuit “qui tam” on behalf of the government to reclaim the money. These “qui tam” plaintiffs are also known as whistleblowers or relators.
Aside from holding unscrupulous individuals and companies to account, the NJFCA provides incentives for reporting false claims filed with the government. Under the Act, if the plaintiff brings a lawsuit and wins the case or comes to a settlement, he or she will receive a percentage of the proceeds or settlement. If the New Jersey Attorney General intervenes in the case, the plaintiff will receive between 15 to 25 percent, depending on the extent the plaintiff was involved in the case. If the Attorney General does not intervene, the plaintiff will receive 25 to 30 percent. On top of this award, the plaintiff may receive his reasonable attorney’s fees, which must be paid by the defrauding individual or company.
**The Steps to Take**
If you believe that you have information pertaining to a false claim made to the government, contact an experienced whistleblower attorney in New Jersey to walk you through the case. Filing this type of case requires detailed information, and a whistleblower attorney will know what you need and when, so you can succeed in your lawsuit.
Once filed, the complaint must remain sealed for at least 60 days while it is reviewed by the New Jersey Attorney General. During that time frame, the Attorney General will decide to intervene or decline to do so. If he declines, then the qui tam plaintiff may proceed on his own with the lawsuit. While this means the plaintiff will have to use his own resources to pursue the case, he will receive a greater portion of a successful verdict or settlement, and the court may order his attorney’s fees to be paid by the defrauding company.
**Call a New Jersey Whistleblower Attorney for Help**
If you think you have a whistleblower case, you should contact an attorney right away. The law firm of John J. Zidziunas & Associates has a team of whistleblowing attorneys in New Jersey ready to review your claim. For further information, call 973-509-8500, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://employmentdiscrimination.com/.
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