- Why Do False Claims Laws Matter?
- What’s a “False” Claim?
- Who Can File an FCA Case?
- How are Qui Tam Cases Filed?
- Why Are Whistleblower Cases Filed Under Seal?
- How Long Do Cases Stay Under Seal?
- What Happens While a Case is Under Seal?
- What Happens Once the Government Finishes Its Investigation?
- What’s the Difference Between “Intervened” and “Declined” Cases?
- What Happens if the Government Declines to Intervene?
- When Does the Defendant Find Out That I’m The Whistleblower?
- What are the Penalties for FCA Violations?
- If My Case is Successful, What’s My Share of the Recovery?
- I’d Like to Read the Federal False Claims Act for Myself, Can I Get a Copy?
- Which States Have False Claims Laws?
What Happens Once the Government Finishes Its Investigation?
At the conclusion of the government’s investigation, or sooner if the court orders, the federal False Claims Act specifies that the Department of Justice has three options, namely to: (a) “intervene” in one or more counts of the complaint, and formally become a party to the case in order to actively participate in prosecuting it; (b) “decline” to intervene, which means the whistleblower and his or her attorney must then choose whether to move forward with prosecuting the case alone; or (c) move to dismiss the whistleblower’s complaint, either because of the government’s belief that there is no case or because the government believes that having the case move forward would conflict with significant interests of the United States. State False Claims Acts usually have similar provisions.
The government takes the first option (intervention) in roughly 20 percent of whistleblower cases. The second option (declination) is by far the most common. The third (the government’s decision to move to dismiss) is relatively rare. In practice, the government also has a fourth option—to try to settle the case before making a decision whether to intervene or decline.