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The False Claims Act: whistleblowers rewarded and protected

The False Claims Act, including its qui tam whistleblower provisions, is a federal law that was enacted by Congress during the Administration of President Abraham Lincoln to address rampant fraud on the Union Army. To protect witnesses of fraud and reward whistleblower action, Congress included qui tam provisions in the False Claims Act. Wisconsin whistleblowers' rights are protected under these laws. Recently, six whistleblowers collected a large settlement for coming forward in a Johnson & Johnson case.

Several J&J employees went undercover to reveal fraudulent activity after teaming up with the U.S. Department of Justice. One employee wore a wire during a sales meeting for the company. She had to make frequent trips inconspicuously to a hotel room above the conference room where investigators worked to continue to charge the battery to the device.

The DOJ successfully pegged Johnson & Johnson with the marketing of unapproved uses for prescription drugs & held them monetarily liable for the criminal activity. The overall settlement of the case totals $2.2 billion. The six whistleblowers stand to receive a percentage of the settlement, which is estimated to be at least $20 million each.

Whistleblowers have the right to be protected from possible employer retaliation under the False Claims Act. Wisconsin residents can be protected and may qualify for a monetary reward if they come forward with information regarding the fraudulent activity of a government entity. Individuals do not need to live in fear or under threat when learning of fraud at work; action can be taken to bring violators to justice.

Source: fiercepharma.com, Sales-meeting stealth was all in a day's work for J&J whistleblower, Tracy Staton, Dec. 9, 2013

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