Justice Department: Whistleblower Settlements total over $500 Million in 2016

According to public records, the Department of Justice obtained more than $4.7 billion in settlements and judgments from cases involving fraud and false claims against the government in 2016. This is the third highest annual recovery in False Claims Act history, with an annual average of $4 billion since 2009. The total recovery from whistleblowers during that period amounts to over $31 billion. As a result, whistleblower plaintiffs have been well-compensated. In 2016, plaintiffs in these types of cases were awarded over $500 million for information and evidence leading to the recovery of government and taxpayer money.

The rate of trying successful fraud cases has accelerated in recent years. Around 60 percent of whistleblower settlements in the last 30 years have come from cases in the last 8 years. If the government prevails in recovering funds in a case, the whistleblower can receive up to 30 percent of the recovery amount.  Whistleblowers filed hundreds of lawsuits in 2016, and the government awarded plaintiffs $519 million in a variety of cases.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati, Ohio lawyer representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of workplace fraud claims and whistleblower settlements.  

What Industries Are Targets of Government Fraud?

Of the $4.7 billion recovered in 2016, $2.5 billion came from the health care industry. This is the seventh consecutive year that health care fraud recoveries have exceeded $2 billion. The next largest recoveries came from the financial industry in the wake of the housing and mortgage fraud crisis. Many companies have taken advantage of government programs and contracts relating to health care, defense and national security, food safety and inspection, federally insured mortgages, highway funds, and agricultural subsidies. Other common defendants in government fraud cases include:

Recent Whistleblower Settlements

  • In September, 2012, the IRS awarded a plaintiff over $100 million for information regarding tax fraud at UBS, his former employer.
  • In July, 2012, a whistleblower at the drug maker GlaxoSmithKline collected $94 million after exposing manufacturing faults.
  • A plaintiff was awarded $84 million in 2012 for reporting that Abbott Laboratories was engaged in off-label promotions of its anti-seizure drug Depakote.
  • Bank of America paid mortgage fraud fines to the government in 2012, and the individual who initiated the investigation was awarded$14.5 million.
  • In September, 2009, ten Pfizer employees were awarded $102 million for having exposed the illegal promotion of the arthritis drug Bextra.
  • In December, 2000, two plaintiffs shared a $100 million reward after they exposed HCA for regularly overbilling Medicare.
  • In January, 2004, plaintiffs shared an award of over $8 million after revealing physicians at a California hospital were performing unnecessary cardiac procedures.

Types of Whistleblower Settlements

For many employees and whistleblowers, coming forward and filing a qui tam lawsuit takes courage, and has its own risks involved in the process. Employees may put their entire career on the line to expose fraud. As a result, under the False Claims Act, plaintiffs are awarded in successful whistleblower settlements.

A whistleblower can typically receive between 15 and 30 percent of the overall recovery of a successful qui tam fraud lawsuit. This amount regularly amounts to millions of dollars. Recovered funds for government agencies usually involve the following kinds of fraud:

  • Illegal kickbacks
  • Off-label marketing
  • FDA regulation violations
  • Medicare fraud
  • Financial fraud claims
  • Instances of gross overbilling
  • Products not manufactured in accordance with contract specifications
  • Charging for new parts and selling used parts
  • Making false statements to win a contract
  • Providing products that fail to comply with environmental standards
  • Overstating the labor cost for a project
  • Destroying contract records

Ohio Whistleblower Settlements

Ohio product liability lawyer whistleblowers civil litigations

If you believe your employer may be defrauding the government, and have questions about the legal options available in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.