Settlements and judgments from cases involving fraud and false claims brought under the False Claims Act (FCA) totaled more than $3.5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2015. That makes four years in a row that FCA recoveries have exceeded $3.5 billion. Of that $3.58 billion for FY 2015, a record amount—$2.91 billion—was recovered by the government because of cases initiated by whistleblowers.
With several billions recovered, awards to the whistleblowers themselves in FY 2015 have been equally large. The portion of the $2.91 billion paid to those who blew the whistle set another record, tallying $597.6 million. Awards in declined cases (cases in which the government declines to prosecute, leaving the whistleblower to forge ahead by themselves) amounted to $334.6 million of the $597.6 million, which established one more record. Less than half—44 percent, or $263 billion—of the awards were paid in cases where the government intervened (i.e., joined the case).
The Largest 2015 Awards
Some of the largest recoveries, and their whistleblower awards, that occurred in FY 2015 included:
- The Internal Revenue Service awarded $11.6 million in a tax noncompliance case to an anonymous whistleblower.
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) awarded the third-highest whistleblower amount since the advent of Dodd-Frank, giving over $3 million to a company insider.
- The SEC also awarded more than $325,000 to a former investment company employee who provided specific tips regarding fraudulent activity.
The Largest Recoveries Where Awards Have Not Yet Been Determined
Because it can take a while for decisions to be handed down with regard to the exact amount of whistleblower awards, the following large recovery cases occurred in 2015 in which the whistleblower awards have not yet been decided:
- Adventist Health Systems settled their case for $118.7 million, of which $115 million is the federal government’s portion. The case was brought under the FCA, and whistleblower awards usually range from 15 to 30 percent of the total amount recovered.
- DaVita Healthcare Partners, Inc., paid approximately $800 million to settle claims. DaVita is the leading provider of dialysis and related services in the U.S.
- Supreme Group settled a whistleblower lawsuit for $101 million, for deliberately overcharging for food and water under their contract to supply troops in Afghanistan.
- A Hilton Head, SC, doctor, helped expose two labs in VA and CA that tested for heart disease. Up to 30 percent could be paid to the whistleblowers from the $48.5 settlement.
Whistleblower cases have successfully helped our country reduce fraud and waste in our government. Total monetary recoveries since January 2009 to the end of FY 2015 amount to $26.4 billion. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, applauded the whistleblowers. “Many of the recoveries obtained under the False Claims Act result from courageous men and women who come forward to blow the whistle on fraud they are often uniquely positioned to expose.”