Tony Munter on Liability and the False Claims Act
Here is a video interview of Tony Munter discussing liability under the False Claims Act.
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Hi, I’m Tony Munter… When you are considering whether or not you have a False Claims Act, try to ask yourself whose money is involved.
The False Claims Act is the most effective whistleblower law there is. Lawyers rarely get to make such an emphatic statement, but considering the billions of dollars collected on behalf of the government under the modern version of this law, and the hundreds of millions awarded to successful individual whistleblowers, I think it’s a pretty safe statement. So, if your whistleblower case works as a false claims case, that’s so much better.
To make it work, there has to be government money involved at some level. I say at some level because a lot of government contracting involves work done by several levels of contractors. There could be a prime contractor and many sub-contractors involved. Fortunately, since amendments in 2009, if there is a way to show that government money is ultimately involved, and a contractor, whether it’s the sub-contractor or the prime contractor, committed fraud, they can be held liable under the False Claims Act.
That was not always so clear. Amendments to clarify definitions under the act include a more broad understanding of what a claim really is. The important thing for you to understand, though, is no matter how complicated the relationships between all the prime and the sub-contractors can get, if government money is involved, and if somebody is committing fraud which affects the government money, somebody can most likely be held liable under the False Claims Act.