Treble Damages Under the False Claims Act

Acting as a whistleblower when you’ve observed fraud targeting government programs and contracts can seem intimidating. Many people unfortunately choose to not to rock the boat and let misconduct go unreported. In recognition of this, the False Claims Act (FCA) offers a powerful incentive for someone to come forward, as well as strong deterrents for violators of the law.  

A key element of the FCA is that it allows courts to impose treble damages on parties found to have committed fraudulent conduct. This means that courts can force these companies to pay up to three times the amount of the government's actual losses. The imposition of treble damages serves multiple purposes within the framework of the FCA. First, it aims to compensate the government for the harm suffered due to fraudulent activities, ensuring that taxpayers are reimbursed for funds wrongfully obtained. Second, the threat of treble damages dissuades potential wrongdoers from engaging in fraudulent conduct by significantly increasing the financial stakes and potential liabilities associated with FCA violations.

Whistleblowers play a pivotal role in uncovering fraud under the FCA, often serving as the primary source of information leading to successful enforcement actions. In recognition of their contributions, whistleblowers are entitled to receive a portion of any recovered damages, including treble damages, as a reward for their efforts. This whistleblower provision incentivizes individuals to come forward with credible information while bolstering the government's enforcement efforts.

The specter of treble damages and other penalties sometimes compels companies not in compliance with the FCA to take retaliatory actions against employees who report misconduct. If you’re aware of FCA violations at your workplace, consulting with an experienced attorney will help you understand your legal rights and the potential compensation you could receive as a whistleblower. Kardell Law Group represents whistleblowers in FCA actions as well as employment matters when workers are victimized by illegal retaliation. 

Treble damages represent a cornerstone of the False Claims Act's enforcement framework, providing a potent deterrent against fraud and a potentially significant reward for those who help hold wrongdoers accountable. However, these situations can be very complicated, so it’s essential to have an effective legal advocate by your side.