Whistleblower/False Claims Act

Coming forward when there is fraud against the government


A government contractor working on a public works project charges the City of Boston for materials that are never used. A physician, nurse or other medical provider routinely performs a battery of tests or lab work on patients when the medical treatment is not necessary and then bills Medicare or MassHealth. A pharmaceutical company artificially inflates the price for a prescription drug and then overbills a government healthcare provider for the drug. A government vendor charges the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for a top-of-the line product but delivers an inferior product doctored to make it appear to be the superior one. What happens when a person, company or corporation makes a profit by defrauding a government that it is doing business with?

All too often the federal government and state government lack the resources and personnel to properly monitor and oversee the people and corporations they do business with. In order to uncover fraud and abuse, both Massachusetts and the federal government have increasingly relied on insiders at companies and corporations (a/k/a “whistleblowers”) to come forward and expose criminal activity that defrauds consumers and the government. To encourage such behavior, governments have enacted whistleblower statutes (called “False Claims Acts”) that provide incentives for whistleblowers to come forward, while also protecting whistleblowers from retaliatory actions such as unwarranted firings or demotions.

In Massachusetts, an attorney can file a qui tam civil lawsuit on behalf of the whistleblower and the Commonwealth. Once such a lawsuit is filed, the Commonwealth may intervene with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, taking over the control and prosecution of the claim. The process is similar under the federal False Claims Act. Under both the federal and Massachusetts False Claims Acts, a whistleblower is entitled to a certain percentage of the recovered proceeds should the government be successful in the claims against a corporation, either through settlement or at trial.

Any whistleblower coming forward to report corporate abuse or fraud needs to find a law firm with trial lawyers who have experience handling complex lawsuits. In addition to our personal injury practice, SUGARMAN attorneys have successfully litigated a wide range of business and fraud claims. Our attorneys have the experience and resources necessary to pursue any whistleblower claim under either the Massachusetts or the federal False Claims Act. We are ready and able to speak with any whistleblower about a potential claim.

Legal Resources

Real Cases

Massachusetts False Claim Act – Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 12, Sections 5A – 5O

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U.S. Department of Justice – The False Claims Act: A Primer

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U.S. Department of Justice – Government Intervention in Qui Tam (Whistleblower) Suits

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