The California False Claims Act:
Qui Tam and Whistleblower Retaliation
Explained by California Labor Attorneys

The California False Claims Act (the "CFCA") provides the following rights to California employees: 1) the right to file a so-called "qui tam" lawsuit against an employer who is committing fraud, theft or embezzlement with respect to government funds,1 and 2) whistleblower protection if an employee reports or tries to stop theft of government funds by their employer.2

Qui tam suits

A "qui tam" lawsuit is a suit filed by a private citizen on behalf of a government entity, against someone who sought to obtain government money by fraud.3

Under the California False Claims Act, Government Code 12652 GC, employees--like any other private citizens--may file qui tam suits against their employers. This is especially common with employers that perform work under government contracts.

Fraud-spelled-out-on-bills
The California False Claims Act provides rights to employees who seek to stop or report cases of fraud involving government funds.

False Claims Act whistleblower protections

Employees who experience workplace retaliation after opposing violations of the California False Claims Act may successfully sue their employers for California wrongful termination.

The whistleblower retaliation sections of the CFCA are set forth in Government Code 12653 GC.4

Examples

The following are examples of employees exercising their rights under the California False Claims Act:

  • A manager for a construction firm working on a government contract learns that his employer has been overbilling the state government. He files a "qui tam" lawsuit in the name of the state to get this money back. 
  • A teacher at a charter school that operates with state funds suspects that the school is collecting more funds from the government than it should by over-reporting its enrollment. She discusses this issue with a supervisor. When nothing is done, she suggests that she might report her suspicions to law enforcement. Two weeks later she is placed on unpaid leave. She then sues the school for wrongful whistleblower termination.

Qui tam lawsuits for California employees

If you believe that your employer has participated in presenting false or fraudulent claims for payment to the state or local government, or has misappropriated government funds, then you may file a "qui tam" suit under the California False Claims Act.

When you file a qui tam lawsuit, you are filing on behalf of the government entity. The California Attorney General or a local district attorney may then choose to take over your role as plaintiff in the suit or allow you to continue with the suit.5

Gavel-representing-qui-tam-lawsuit
A qui tam lawsuit is a suit filed by a private citizen--such as an employee--on behalf of the government.

In either event, though, you will be entitled to a share of the damages (anywhere from 15% to 50%) if the lawsuit is successful.6

Wrongful termination/retaliation lawsuits under the California False Claims Act

If you suspect that you have been a victim of California False Claims Act whistleblower retaliation, then you have the right to sue your employer under GC 12653. The statute of limitations for a CFCA retaliation lawsuit is three (3) years after you are terminated or retaliated against.7

Damages that you may receive in a successful CFCA wrongful termination suit include:

  • Reinstatement in your former job;
  • Twice the amount of lost back pay, plus interest on the back pay;
  • Compensation for special damages (emotional suffering, reputational damage, etc.); and/or
  • Reimbursement for litigation costs and/or reasonable attorneys' fees.8

Below, our California employment and wrongful termination attorneys answer the following frequently asked questions about employees' rights under the California False Claims Act:

If you have further questions after reading this article, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

1. What is the California False Claims Act?

The California False Claims Act, also known as the "CFCA," is a law that provides for civil (financial) penalties for individuals or entities who commit certain forms of theft, fraud or embezzlement with respect to state or local government funds.

For purposes of the California False Claims Act, a "claim" means a request for money, property or services that will be provided directly or indirectly by the California state government or a local government.9

The specific activities that are prohibited under the CFCA include:

  • Knowingly presenting or causing to be presented a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval;
  • Knowingly making, using or causing to be made or used a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim;
  • Engaging in a conspiracy to commit any other act forbidden by the CFCA;
  • Delivering less than all of any government property or money over which they have custody or control; 
  • Knowingly making or delivering a receipt that falsely represents property used by state or local government;
  • Knowingly buying public property from someone without the right to sell the property;
  • Knowingly making, using or causing to be made or used false records or statements material to an obligation to pay money or property to the government, or knowingly concealing, avoiding or decreasing an obligation to pay money to the government; and
  • Failing to disclose a false claim to the government after benefiting from that claim.10
Pen-money-and-calculator
The California False Claims Act prohibits financial wrongdoing with respect to government funds or property.

The California False Claims Act is primarily a law protecting government property. But it is relevant to California employment law for two reasons: qui tam lawsuits, and whistleblower protections.

2. What is a "qui tam" suit in California?

A "qui tam" suit under the CFCA is a lawsuit filed by a private citizen who discovers a violation of the False Claims Act. A plaintiff in a "qui tam" suit sues the defendant on behalf of / in the name of the state or local government entity whose property was misappropriated.11

California employment lawyers often assist employees who bring qui tam suits against current or former employers. In a typical employee qui tam lawsuit, the employer is a private company that did business with the government, such as a charter school or construction company.

Example: Mary is an accountant for a landscaping company that maintains the outdoor areas of multiple local government buildings.

After several years of working for the company, Mary has developed a reasonable suspicion that the company has been systematically overbilling the local government for years, by billing for more plants and supplies than it has actually been using. The total amount of overbilling may amount to several hundred thousand dollars.

After talking to an employment attorney, Mary decides to file a qui tam lawsuit against the company. If she is successful, the company will be forced to pay damages to the government, and Mary will receive a share of those damages.

2.1. How can a California employee file a "qui tam" suit?

Any California employee can file a suit as a qui tam plaintiff against a current or former employer in California Superior Court

Courtroom
The CFCA's qui tam law permits employees to file lawsuits on behalf of the government.

The only exception is current or former employees who discovered California False Claims Act violations during the course of their employment with a state or local government agency. In those cases, the employee is required to exhaust their employer's internal procedures for reporting and seeking recovery of the false claims before a court will hear his/her qui tam lawsuit.12

California qui tam suits under the California False Claims Act must be brought before the later of the following two dates:

  1. Six (6) years after the California False Claims Act violation occurs; or
  2. Three (3) years after the qui tam plaintiff first learned or reasonably should have known about the violation (but in no event more than ten (10) years after it occurred).13

When a California employee brings a qui tam lawsuit, s/he is required to show by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation of the CFCA occurred.14

If you file a qui tam lawsuit, you are required to serve a copy of the complaint and all material evidence you have on the California Attorney General.

The Attorney General (or the prosecuting attorney of the local government involved in the false claims) then has a set amount of time to decide whether to take over the lawsuit itself or to let you proceed as plaintiff. You will be entitled to a share of damages from the qui tam suit regardless of the AG's decision--but the amount will vary depending on whether you or the prosecutor ultimately sees the qui tam suit through to completion.15

2.2. What damages can I expect to get from a successful California "qui tam" lawsuit?

The amount of damages at stake in a qui tam lawsuit under the California False Claims Act is keyed to the amount of the financial loss that the state or local government suffered because of the false claims.

Gavel-on-top-of-money
A plaintiff in a qui tam suit is entitled to a portion of the damages paid by the defendant.

A defendant who is found to have violated the CFCA will be required to pay the total of

  • three (3) times the amount of loss that his/her act caused the government,
  • the cost of the litigation to enforce the California False Claims Act, and
  • a civil penalty of between five thousand dollars ($5,000) and eleven thousand dollars ($11,000) for each violation.16

As a qui tam plaintiff, you are entitled to a portion of the damages that the defendant pays.

If the state or local prosecuting attorney takes over the qui tam suit after you file it, then you may receive between fifteen percent (15%) and thirty-three percent (33%) of the proceeds, depending on the magnitude of your contribution to the suit.

If the attorney general or district attorney did NOT take over the qui tam suit, and you remained the plaintiff, then you are entitled to between twenty-five percent (25%) and fifty percent (50%) of the proceeds.17

(There is an exception if you learned about the false claims as a current or former employee of a government entity. In that case, you are not necessarily entitled to a share of the proceeds--but you may be awarded up to 33% or 50% of the proceeds at the discretion of the court.18

3. What protections does the California False Claims Act provide for whistleblower employees?

The other section of the California False Claims Act that is relevant to California labor and employment law is the "whistlleblower retaliation" section, Government Code 12653 GC. 

A whistleblower retaliation / whistleblower protection law is a statute that carves out an exception to the general rule of at-will employment in California. Whistleblower laws like GC 12653 protect employees who report violations of law from wrongful termination, wrongful constructive termination and other forms of workplace retaliation.

Post-it-labeled-whistleblower
The whistleblower provisions of the California False Claims Act protect employees who report wrongdoing.

Under the California False Claims Act, employers may not retaliate against employees who either

  • bring or assist in a qui tam lawsuit or an attorney general's suit alleging a CFCA violation, or
  • make an effort to stop a violation of the CFCA.19

Specifically, employers may not 

  • discharge (fire),
  • demote,
  • suspend,
  • threaten,
  • harass, or
  • discriminate against in the terms or conditions of employment,

any employee who engages in these California False Claims Act protected activities.20

Example: Enrique works for a recycling company that collects recyclables under a city contract. 

Enrique believes that the company is falsifying its claims for reimbursement from the city--that is, claiming to be submitting more recyclables than it actually is and therefore defrauding the city. He tells a supervisor about this, but nothing changes.

So he files a qui tam suit. The city attorney chooses to take over the suit against the company.

While the California False Claims Act suit is pending, Enrique is demoted, and his pay is cut.

Enrique may have a cause of action against his employer for whistleblower retaliation under the California False Claims Act.

3.1. What are the procedures for a whistleblower retalation lawsuit under the California False Claims Act?

A lawsuit under the whistleblower protection provisions of the California False Claims Act, GC 12653, must be filed within three (3) years of the date when the retaliation occurred.21

In order to prevail in a California False Claims Act whistleblower retaliation suit, you and your employment attorney need to be able to prove that:

  1. You engaged in protected activity under Government Code 12653;
  2. Your employer knew you engaged in protected activity; and
  3. Your employer discriminated against you because you engaged in protected activity.22
Boss-berating-employee
In order to prevail in a CFCA whistleblower suit, you must be able to show that your employer discriminated against you because of your whistleblower activities.

It is common for California employees to sue their employers not only under the whistleblower provision of the CFCA, but under additional related causes of action as well--such as public policy wrongful termination and the general whistleblower law of Labor Code 1102.5 LC.

3.2. What damages can I receive in a successful CFCA employer retaliation suit?

The California False Claims Act, GC 12653, specifies that employees who successfully sue their employers for CFCA whistleblower termination or retaliation can win the following damages:

  1. Reinstatement in your former position with the same seniority status you would have had without the retaliation;
  2. Two times the amount of back pay you would have earned had you not been terminated, demoted, etc.;
  3. Interest on the back pay;
  4. Compensation for special damages such as emotional distress or damage to your reputation resulting from the retaliation;
  5. Litigation costs and reasonable attorneys' fees; and
  6. Punitive damages designed to punish the employer, in cases where the employer's behavior was particularly egregious.23

However, as is the case with damages in most California wrongful termination cases, the total amount of damages will be reduced by the amount that you earned--or your employer can show that you could have earned--in substantially similar employment after you were terminated.24

4. What is the federal False Claims Act?

The federal False Claims Act (the "FCA") is very similar to the California False Claims Act. It just applies instead to false claims for money or property of the United States government.25

A California employee who suspects that his/her employer has made false claims against the federal government can file a "qui tam" lawsuit in federal court with the help of a California employment lawyer.26

The federal False Claims Act also provides whistleblower protections similar to those provided by the CFCA.27

One major difference between the federal and California False Claims Acts is the share of damages that a qui tam plaintiff can receive.

Under the federal False Claims Act, a qui tam plaintiff can receive only 15% - 25% of the damages if a federal prosecutor takes over the lawsuit, and 25% - 30% if a prosecutor does not.28(The comparable figures under the California False Claims Act are 15% - 33%, and 25% - 50%.)

Call us for help...

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For questions about the qui tam lawsuits and the whistleblower protections of the California False Claims Act or to discuss your case confidentially with one of our skilled California labor and employment attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

We have local employment law offices in and around Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.


Legal References:

  1. Government Code 12652 GC -- Qui tam lawsuits. ("(c)(1) A person may bring a civil action for a violation of this article for the person and either for the State of California in the name of the state, if any state funds are involved, or for a political subdivision in the name of the political subdivision, if political subdivision funds are exclusively involved. The person bringing the action shall be referred to as the qui tam plaintiff. Once filed, the action may be dismissed only with the written consent of the court and the Attorney General or prosecuting authority of a political subdivision, or both, as appropriate under the allegations of the civil action, taking into account the best interests of the parties involved and the public purposes behind this act. No claim for any violation of Section 12651 may be waived or released by any private person, except if the action is part of a court approved settlement of a false claim civil action brought under this section. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to limit the ability of the state or political subdivision to decline to pursue any claim brought under this section.")
  2. Government Code 12653 GC -- California False Claims Act whistleblower protection. ("(a) Any employee, contractor, or agent shall be entitled to all relief necessary to make that employee, contractor, or agent whole, if that employee, contractor, or agent is discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of his or her employment because of lawful acts done by the employee, contractor, agent, or associated others in furtherance of an action under this section or other efforts to stop one or more violations of this article. (b) Relief under this section shall include reinstatement with the same seniority status that the employee, contractor, or agent would have had but for the discrimination, two times the amount of back pay, interest on the back pay, and compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the discrimination, and where appropriate, punitive damages. The defendant shall also be required to pay litigation costs and reasonable attorneys' fees. An action under this section may be brought in the appropriate superior court of the state. (c) A civil action under this section shall not be brought more than three years after the date when the retaliation occurred.")
  3. Government Code 12652 GC -- Qui tam lawsuits. ("(c)(3) On the same day as the complaint is filed pursuant to paragraph (2), the qui tam plaintiff shall serve by mail with “return receipt requested the Attorney General with a copy of the complaint and a written disclosure of substantially all material evidence and information the person possesses. (4) Within 60 days after receiving a complaint and written disclosure of material evidence and information alleging violations that involve state funds but not political subdivision funds, the Attorney General may elect to intervene and proceed with the action. (5) The Attorney General may, for good cause shown, move the court for extensions of the time during which the complaint remains under seal pursuant to paragraph (2). The motion may be supported by affidavits or other submissions in camera. (6) Before the expiration of the 60-day period or any extensions obtained under paragraph (5), the Attorney General shall do either of the following: (A) Notify the court that it intends to proceed with the action, in which case the action shall be conducted by the Attorney General and the seal shall be lifted. (B) Notify the court that it declines to proceed with the action, in which case the seal shall be lifted and the qui tam plaintiff shall have the right to conduct the action. (7)(A) Within 15 days after receiving a complaint alleging violations that exclusively involve political subdivision funds, the Attorney General shall forward copies of the complaint and written disclosure of material evidence and information to the appropriate prosecuting authority for disposition, and shall notify the qui tam plaintiff of the transfer. (B) Within 45 days after the Attorney General forwards the complaint and written disclosure pursuant to subparagraph (A), the prosecuting authority may elect to intervene and proceed with the action. (C) The prosecuting authority may, for good cause shown, move for extensions of the time during which the complaint remains under seal. The motion may be supported by affidavits or other submissions in camera. (D) Before the expiration of the 45-day period or any extensions obtained under subparagraph (C), the prosecuting authority shall do either of the following: (i) Notify the court that it intends to proceed with the action, in which case the action shall be conducted by the prosecuting authority and the seal shall be lifted. (ii) Notify the court that it declines to proceed with the action, in which case the seal shall be lifted and the qui tam plaintiff shall have the right to conduct the action.")
  4. Government Code 12653 GC -- California False Claims Act whistleblower protection, endnote 2 above.
  5. Government Code 12652 GC -- Qui tam lawsuits. ("(g)(2) If the state or political subdivision proceeds with an action brought by a qui tam plaintiff under subdivision (c), the qui tam plaintiff shall, subject to paragraphs (4) and (5), receive at least 15 percent but not more than 33 percent of the proceeds of the action or settlement of the claim, depending upon the extent to which the qui tam plaintiff substantially contributed to the prosecution of the action. When it conducts the action, the Attorney General's office or the office of the prosecuting authority of the political subdivision shall receive a fixed 33 percent of the proceeds of the action or settlement of the claim, which shall be used to support its ongoing investigation and prosecution of false claims made against the state or political subdivision. When both the Attorney General and a prosecuting authority are involved in a qui tam action pursuant to subparagraph (C) of paragraph (6) of subdivision (c), the court at its discretion may award the prosecuting authority a portion of the Attorney General's fixed 33 percent of the recovery, taking into account the prosecuting authority's contribution to investigating and conducting the action. (3) If the state or political subdivision does not proceed with an action under subdivision (c), the qui tam plaintiff shall, subject to paragraphs (4) and (5), receive an amount that the court decides is reasonable for collecting the civil penalty and damages on behalf of the government. The amount shall be not less than 25 percent and not more than 50 percent of the proceeds of the action or settlement and shall be paid out of these proceeds.")
  6. Government Code 12653 GC -- California False Claims Act whistleblower protection.
  7. Same.
  8. Same.
  9. Government Code 12650 GC -- California False Claims Act definitions. ("(b) For purposes of this article: (1) “Claim means any request or demand, whether under a contract or otherwise, for money, property, or services, and whether or not the state or a political subdivision has title to the money, property, or services that meets either of the following conditions: (A) Is presented to an officer, employee, or agent of the state or of a political subdivision. (B) Is made to a contractor, grantee, or other recipient, if the money, property, or service is to be spent or used on a state or any political subdivision's behalf or to advance a state or political subdivision's program or interest, and if the state or political subdivision meets either of the following conditions: (i) Provides or has provided any portion of the money, property, or service requested or demanded. (ii) Reimburses the contractor, grantee, or other recipient for any portion of the money, property, or service that is requested or demanded. (2) “Claim does not include requests or demands for money, property, or services that the state or a political subdivision has paid to an individual as compensation for employment with the state or political subdivision or as an income subsidy with no restrictions on that individual's use of the money, property, or services.")
  10. Government Code 12651 GC -- California False Claims Act. ("(a) Any person who commits any of the following enumerated acts in this subdivision shall have violated this article and shall be liable to the state or to the political subdivision for three times the amount of damages that the state or political subdivision sustains because of the act of that person. A person who commits any of the following enumerated acts shall also be liable to the state or to the political subdivision for the costs of a civil action brought to recover any of those penalties or damages, and shall be liable to the state or political subdivision for a civil penalty of not less than five thousand five hundred dollars ($5,500) and not more than eleven thousand dollars ($11,000) for each violation: (1) Knowingly presents or causes to be presented a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval. (2) Knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim. (3) Conspires to commit a violation of this subdivision. (4) Has possession, custody, or control of public property or money used or to be used by the state or by any political subdivision and knowingly delivers or causes to be delivered less than all of that property. (5) Is authorized to make or deliver a document certifying receipt of property used or to be used by the state or by any political subdivision and knowingly makes or delivers a receipt that falsely represents the property used or to be used. (6) Knowingly buys, or receives as a pledge of an obligation or debt, public property from any person who lawfully may not sell or pledge the property. (7) Knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used a false record or statement material to an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the state or to any political subdivision, or knowingly conceals or knowingly and improperly avoids, or decreases an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the state or to any political subdivision. (8) Is a beneficiary of an inadvertent submission of a false claim, subsequently discovers the falsity of the claim, and fails to disclose the false claim to the state or the political subdivision within a reasonable time after discovery of the false claim.")
  11. Government Code 12652 GC -- Qui tam lawsuits, endnote 1 above.
  12. Government Code 12651 GC -- California False Claims Act. ("(d) . . . (4) In all actions brought under subdivision (c), except for those in which the complaint alleges one or more violations under Section 12651 involving claims related to California's Medicaid Program, as defined by the Medi-Cal Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 14000) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code) a court shall not have jurisdiction over an action based upon information discovered by a present or former employee of the state or a political subdivision during the course of his or her employment unless that employee first, in good faith, exhausted existing internal procedures for reporting and seeking recovery of the falsely claimed sums through official channels and unless the state or political subdivision failed to act on the information provided within a reasonable period of time.")
  13. Government Code 12654 GC -- Limitation of actions [for California qui tam suits]. ("(a) A civil action under Section 12652 shall not be filed more than six years after the date on which the violation of Section 12651 is committed, or more than three years after the date when facts material to the right of action are known or reasonably should have been known by the Attorney General or prosecuting authority with jurisdiction to act under this article, but in no event more than 10 years after the date on which the violation is committed, whichever of the aforementioned occurs last.")
  14. Government Code 12654 GC -- Limitation of actions [for California qui tam suits]. ("(c) In any action brought under Section 12652, the state, the political subdivision, or the qui tam plaintiff shall be required to prove all essential elements of the cause of action, including damages, by a preponderance of the evidence.")
  15. Government Code 12652 GC -- Qui tam lawsuits, subsection (c), endnote 3 above.
  16. Government Code 12651 GC -- California False Claims Act, endnote 10 above.
  17. Government Code 12652 GC -- Qui tam lawsuits, subsection (g), endnote 5 above.
  18. Government Code 12652 GC -- Qui tam lawsuits. ("(4) If the action is one provided for under paragraph (4) of subdivision (d), the present or former employee of the state or political subdivision is not entitled to any minimum guaranteed recovery from the proceeds. The court, however, may award the qui tam plaintiff those sums from the proceeds as it considers appropriate, but in no case more than 33 percent of the proceeds if the state or political subdivision goes forth with the action or 50 percent if the state or political subdivision declines to go forth, taking into account the significance of the information, the role of the qui tam plaintiff in advancing the case to litigation, and the scope of, and response to, the employee's attempts to report and gain recovery of the falsely claimed funds through official channels.")
  19. Government Code 12653 GC -- California False Claims Act whistleblower protection, endnote 2 above.
  20. Same.
  21. Same.
  22. McVeigh v. Recology San Francisco (2013) 213 Cal.App.4th 443, 455. ("McVeigh's first two causes of action allege that his employment was terminated in violation of this whistleblower provision of the CFCA. To establish a prima facie case, a plaintiff alleging retaliation under the CFCA must show: “(1) that he or she engaged in activity protected under the statute; (2) that the employer knew the plaintiff engaged in protected activity; and (3) that the employer discriminated against the plaintiff because he or she engaged in protected activity.")
  23. Government Code 12653 GC -- California False Claims Act whistleblower protection, endnote 2 above.
  24. See, e.g., Cordero-Sacks v. Housing Authority of City of Los Angeles (2011) 200 Cal.App.4th 1267, 1282. ("The court instructed the jury with several form instructions [in a CFCA whistleblower case]. One instruction explained that Cordero-Sacks had a duty to take work substantially similar to her position at the Authority, but the Authority had the burden of proving such work existed. (See CACI No. 2407.) Two other instructions emphasized that the jury must reduce its award for Cordero–Sacks's past and future economic damages by the amount she could have earned if she had taken substantially similar available employment.")  
  25. 31 United States Code ("U.S.C.") 3729 -- False Claims Act. ("Subject to paragraph (2), any person who-- knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval; knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim; conspires to commit a violation of subparagraph (A), (B), (D), (E), (F), or (G); has possession, custody, or control of property or money used, or to be used, by the Government and knowingly delivers, or causes to be delivered, less than all of that money or property; is authorized to make or deliver a document certifying receipt of property used, or to be used, by the Government and, intending to defraud the Government, makes or delivers the receipt without completely knowing that the information on the receipt is true; knowingly buys, or receives as a pledge of an obligation or debt, public property from an officer or employee of the Government, or a member of the Armed Forces, who lawfully may not sell or pledge property;  or knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement material to an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the Government, or knowingly conceals or knowingly and improperly avoids or decreases an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the Government, is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not less than $5,000 and not more than $10,000, as adjusted by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note;  Public Law 104-410 , plus 3 times the amount of damages which the Government sustains because of the act of that person.")
  26. 31 U.S.C. 3730 -- Federal qui tam suits. ("Actions by private persons.-- A person may bring a civil action for a violation of section 3729 for the person and for the United States Government.  The action shall be brought in the name of the Government.  The action may be dismissed only if the court and the Attorney General give written consent to the dismissal and their reasons for consenting. A copy of the complaint and written disclosure of substantially all material evidence and information the person possesses shall be served on the Government pursuant to Rule 4(d)(4) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  The complaint shall be filed in camera, shall remain under seal for at least 60 days, and shall not be served on the defendant until the court so orders.  The Government may elect to intervene and proceed with the action within 60 days after it receives both the complaint and the material evidence and information.")
  27. 31 U.S.C. 3730 -- False Claims Act whistleblower protections. ("Relief from retaliatory actions.--In general.--Any employee, contractor, or agent shall be entitled to all relief necessary to make that employee, contractor, or agent whole, if that employee, contractor, or agent is discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment because of lawful acts done by the employee, contractor, agent or associated others in furtherance of an action under this section or other efforts to stop 1 or more violations of this subchapter. Relief.--Relief under paragraph (1) shall include reinstatement with the same seniority status that employee, contractor, or agent would have had but for the discrimination, 2 times the amount of back pay, interest on the back pay, and compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the discrimination, including litigation costs and reasonable attorneys' fees.  An action under this subsection may be brought in the appropriate district court of the United States for the relief provided in this subsection. Limitation on bringing civil action.--A civil action under this subsection may not be brought more than 3 years after the date when the retaliation occurred.")
  28. 31 U.S.C. 3730 -- Federal qui tam suits. ("Award to qui tam plaintiff.-- If the Government proceeds with an action brought by a person under subsection (b), such person shall, subject to the second sentence of this paragraph, receive at least 15 percent but not more than 25 percent of the proceeds of the action or settlement of the claim, depending upon the extent to which the person substantially contributed to the prosecution of the action.  Where the action is one which the court finds to be based primarily on disclosures of specific information (other than information provided by the person bringing the action) relating to allegations or transactions in a criminal, civil, or administrative hearing, in a congressional, administrative, or Government  Accounting Office report, hearing, audit, or investigation, or from the news media, the court may award such sums as it considers appropriate, but in no case more than 10 percent of the proceeds, taking into account the significance of the information and the role of the person bringing the action in advancing the case to litigation. Any payment to a person under the first or second sentence of this paragraph shall be made from the proceeds. Any such person shall also receive an amount for reasonable expenses which the court finds to have been necessarily incurred, plus reasonable attorneys' fees and costs. All such expenses, fees, and costs shall be awarded against the defendant. If the Government does not proceed with an action under this section, the person bringing the action or settling the claim shall receive an amount which the court decides is reasonable for collecting the civil penalty and damages. The amount shall be not less than 25 percent and not more than 30 percent of the proceeds of the action or settlement and shall be paid out of such proceeds. Such person shall also receive an amount for reasonable expenses which the court finds to have been necessarily incurred, plus reasonable attorneys' fees and costs.  All such expenses, fees, and costs shall be awarded against the defendant.")

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