Our law firm’s role
Our lawyers represent both companies accused of violations of the False Claims Act or the Moiety Statute, and whistleblowers who are seeking to collect a reward for turning in violators of those laws. We also help companies with procedures to comply with federal whistleblower laws.
About the False Claims Act and the Moiety Statute
Our laws protect and reward whistleblowers for reporting corporate illegalities to enforcement authorities. Companies eagerly and quickly inform the government about their competitors when they fear an unfair advantage.
Laws that reward and protect whistleblowers are not new. During our nation’s earliest years and for well over a century after its founding, the U.S. federal government could not afford to have graft disrupt the payment of import tariff duties, its major source of funding. Congress created a system of moiety (which means a portion or share in Latin) to reward people who came forward to report anyone who defrauded the US Treasury. Paid informants were and continue to be vital to the functioning of our customs laws. But the idea of rewarding informants was not limited to import duties: the False Claims Act was passed during the US Civil War to prevent looting of the US Treasury. The False Claims Act is also referred sometimes as quit tam (pronounced key tam), its Latin antecedent. The US Government and whistleblowers have collected billions of dollars through whistleblower actions under the False Claim Act and the Moiety Statute. The False Claims Act allows people to file a lawsuit in federal district court against any person or entity who improperly receives from or avoids payment to the Federal government. The whistleblower does not file on its behalf, but on behalf of the government, hoping that the US Department of Justice will intervene and take over the litigation. The whistleblower gets to receive a portion of money that the Government collects either through a final judgment or negotiated settlement. The proceedings are under seal to protect the identity of the person filing the lawsuit. The Moiety Statute is similar (the informant’s identity is kept secret), but unlike the False Claims Act, the informant’s reward is capped. An informant (who can be anyone not in the government, not just an employee of the target company) can collect up to 25 per cent (up to $250,000) of what the government collects in penalties, fines, forfeited property, or duties from the importer.
Both laws require a great deal pre-filing research to convince the government to take over and forcefully prosecute the case.