The government in California, whether at the state, county or city level has the responsibility of making sure a variety of projects are completed each year. They are also responsible for keeping various public buildings, parks and other operations up and running. For many of these tasks the government has employees to do them, but in many instances it makes more sense to hire a private company do certain projects or aspects of a project. These contracts can be very lucrative for the private companies.
However, some private companies may feel that they could receive even more for certain projects. They may produce false reports or false invoices to the various government agencies in order to do this. This is type of activity is banned by the federal False Claims Act. It is sometimes difficult for the government to properly monitor all the projects though and may not realize that they are receiving false reports.
To help them, they encourage the employees or others who have knowledge of the illegal activity to report it to the government. These are known as Qui Tam actions. Basically they allow private individuals bring actions against the company in what would normally be within the government’s authority to do. If successful the person who brought the claim could receive a portion of the money that the government ultimately recovers.
Additionally the employees are protected from whistleblower retaliation from the employer. If they suffer adverse consequences because they brought the claim, the employer may have to pay additional damages directly to the employee.
Ultimately private companies in California are trying to make money and some will do illegal activities to do so. One of these activities is making false reports to the government to receive more money than they are entitled to. Employees at the company may be aware of this practice and are encouraged to come forward and file complaints. Experienced attorneys understand the employees’ rights in these claims and may be able to guide one through the process.
Source: www.justice.gov “The False Claims Act: A Primer” accessed on Nov. 16, 2017