Whistleblower/False Claims Act

Coming forward when there is fraud against the government

A

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?

Too often, the federal government and the state government lack the resources and staff to adequately monitor and supervise the individuals and corporations with whom they do business. In order to uncover fraud and abuse, both Massachusetts and the federal government have increasingly relied on corporate and business informants (known as "snitches") to come forward and expose criminal activities that defraud people. consumers and the government. To encourage this type of behavior, governments have enacted whistle-blowing laws (called "False Report Laws") that provide incentives for whistleblowers to come forward, while protecting them from retaliation, such as termination or demotion.


In Massachusetts, an attorney can file a qui tam civil lawsuit on behalf of the complainant (snitch) and the state. Once the lawsuit is filed, the State can intervene with the Massachusetts Attorney General's office, taking over and processing the lawsuit. The process is similar under the Federal False Reporting Law. Under Federal Law and the Massachusetts False Reporting Act, a whistleblower is entitled to a certain percentage of recovered income in the event the government is successful in claims against a corporation, either through a settlement or in a judgment.

Any whistleblower who comes forward to report corporate fraud or abuse will need to find a trial law firm with experience handling complex claims. In addition to our personal injury practice, SUGARMAN attorneys have successfully litigated a wide range of fraud and commercial lawsuits. Our attorneys have the experience and resources necessary to process any whistleblower claim under the Massachusetts False Reporting Law or the Federal False Reporting Law. We are ready and able to speak to any complainant 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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