Federal Employees May Now Serve as Whistleblowers under the False Claims Act
A recent Fifth Circuit decision, Little v. Shell Exploration & Production Co. et al., Civ. A. No. 11-20320 (5th Cir. July 31, 2012), has widen the pool of would-be whistleblowers to include federal employees.
In Little v. Shell Exploration & Production Co. et al., Civ. A. No. 11-20320 (5th Cir. July 31, 2012), the Fifth Circuit held that two relators’ employed as federal auditors were not deprived of standing, simply because of their employment status, under the False Claims Act. The specific question under review was “[i]s a federal employee, even one whose job it is to investigate fraud, a ‘person’ under the False Claims Act such that he may maintain a qui tam action?”
Little, was a Senior Auditor and, Arnold, his co-relator, was a Supervisory Auditor. Both worked for the Minerals Management Service (MMS), a former agency within the Department of the Interior that administered leases for Defendant Shell. Part of MMS’ function was to detect fraud in the royalty programs. While employed by MMS, the two relators reported to their supervisor that Shell had deprived the U.S. of royalties by taking unauthorized deductions for certain expenses. Having received no response to their report, the two relators filed a qui tam action in 2006 alleging that Shell had defrauded the Department of the Interior of at least $19 million between 2001 and 2006.
After the government declined to intervene in the case, Shell was served and promptly moved for summary judgment. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Shell and the relators timely appealed. On appeal, Shell and the government unsuccessfully argued that 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(1)’s subsection heading – “Actions by private persons,” restricts the pool of potential relators under the FCA to only non-governmental persons. The U.S. Government filed an amicus curiae brief siding with Shell on the issue.
Acknowledging that there is somewhat of a circuit split on the issue, the Fifth Circuit, however, disagreed and found that the statutory text and legislative history of the False Claims Act, as well as simple logic did not support such a limitation. Thus, the doors are now open wider for employees of the federal government to bring claims under the Federal False Claims Act.
If you or someone you know has evidence of fraud against the government, you may still be able to qualify as a whistleblower under the False Claims Act, even though you work for the government and even if you work as an auditor. Contact the whistleblower attorneys at Levy Konigsberg LLP for a free and confidential consultation by calling our 24/7 hotline at (800) 315-3806, or by submitting an email inquiry.
- 2017 False Claims Act Year in Review: Government Recovers $3.7 Billion
- Do You Work For A Motor Vehicle Manufacturer, Supplier, Or Dealership And Came Across Safety Violations Your Employer Is Trying To Keep Hidden? Don’t Let Them Get Away With It, Call Now!
- 2016 False Claims Act Year in Review: Whistleblowers Collect $519 Million
- New Study Confirms Importance of Whistleblowers in Preventing Corporate Fraud
- Where was the Wells Fargo Whistleblower? Part II.
- Fiscal Year 2016 Record Year for SEC Whistleblowers - $57 Million Awarded to Whistleblowers!
- SEC Investigating Wells Fargo Fraudulent Practices
- Whistleblower First! SEC Rewards Whistleblower $3.75 Million For Reporting Violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
- Did Your Employer Actually Qualify For That Government Set-Aside It Received? Did Your Competition Win A Contract It Didn’t Deserve?
- Hiding Wealth Offshore To Avoid Paying Taxes Is Illegal And IRS Will Reward Those Who Blow The Whistle On Anyone That Tries
- Aware of Banks and Mortgage Lenders Defrauding the Government Through FHA or VA Insured Loans? Don’t “Short” The Market, Contact Us!
- U.S. Education Department Creates New Unit to Investigate Student Aid Fraud
- The False Claims Act Year in Review: Whistleblowers Collect a Record $597 Million
- False Claims Act Update: Top Recoveries & Enforcement Trends from 2014
- Whistleblower Attorneys Recover $1M in Medicare Fraud Case
- Qui Tam Attorney Discusses the DOE’s Final Gainful Employment Rules
- Career Education Corporation Agrees to $10.5 Million Settlement Over Inflated Employment Rates
- Pharmaceutical Company to Pay $40.1 M to Settle Whistleblower Lawsuit
- Qui Tam Lawsuit Involving Healthcare Fraud Intervened by US Government
- Medicare Fraud Responsible for $23 Million Paid to the Dead in 2011?
Find out whether you have a case by speaking to one of our experienced mesothelioma lawyers via our 24/7 toll-free hotline or by submitting an email inquiry. Our attorneys will be quick to respond to you and happy to answer all of your questions.
Over $3 Billion Won
We have represented numerous individuals and groups of workers, winning for them multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts.
There's No Case Too Big
Our team has achieved groundbreaking victories in highly complex cases and has gone up against some of the toughest defendants in the country.
Our attorneys excel in the courtroom and are not afraid to bring a case in front of a jury if a fair settlement for the client has not been reached.
A Thought Leader in the Industry
Our firm's knowledge and experience are in high demand, and many news outlets have asked us to share our legal expertise.
Access to World Class Resources
Our experienced attorneys use cutting-edge technology and highly regarded experts to help us achieve the best possible result for our clients.
Changing the World for Good
We not only want to achieve the best possible results for our clients, but we also strive to prevent future harm by changing public health policies.
They truly made a difference in our lives!- Jonathan McNulty
Outstanding law firm!- R.M.
No need to look any further.- Todd Allen
They were the clear choice!- Bruce Totterdale
Forever grateful!- Diane Hoefer
The best and brightest!- Paulette
Simply incredible!- IBS LMM
Knowledgeable guidance and representation.- Steven Simon
They are good people who want to help you.- Edwin Jimenez
They won us a lot of money.- Karen