Whistleblower/Qui Tam/False Claims Act Cases
NEWS: $4.2 Billion Recovered by Sheller, P.C.-Represented Whistleblowers in Three Largest Settlements January 2009-April 2010
The law firm of Sheller, P.C. maintains an active whistleblower/qui tam/False Claims Act practice. Sheller, P.C. attorneys have been the first to bring action against some of the most significant qui tam actions in the last several years. Not all cases are made public; successful whistleblower cases filed by Sheller, P.C. attorneys are often covered by the press, but other victories are kept under seal or are resolved confidentially.
The types of whistleblower qui tam, False Claims Act and fraud cases Sheller, P.C. investigates include:
- Defense Contractor/Procurement
- General Services Administration
- Government Grant and Research
- Fraud (Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act)
- Financial Industry (TARP, Mortgage)
- Tax (Corporate Tax, Abusive Tax Shelters)
In 2009 and first quarter of 2010, Sheller attorneys represented multiple whistleblowers in the largest pharmaceutical False Claims Act qui tam cases in history, two of them civil and criminal and one civil alone:
- $1.4 billion settlement and criminal fines: U.S. v. Eli Lilly & Company
- $2.3 billion settlement and criminal fines: U.S. v. Pfizer
- $520 million settlement and largest civil in history, U.S. v. Astra Zeneca
- TOTAL: over $4.2 billion recovered in last 15 months
Sheller, P.C. has recovered over $4.2 billion for the U.S. Government working in concert with the Department of Justice through the U.S. Attorney’s offices in Philadelphia and Boston. For “doing the right thing,” the whistleblowers received a portion of a settlement.
Several additional cases throughout the country are ongoing and will be announced in coming months.
The unique expertise of the qui tam/False Claims Act attorneys at Sheller, P.C.
Stephen Sheller is the visionary of Sheller, P.C., a firm with national focus. Sheller believes that each case, each whistleblower, deserves the attention of the firm’s experts and resources from first contact to during and after the process. With four decades of civil litigation successes including battles against pharmaceutical, automotive and other corporate giants, Sheller is well-attuned to the winning strategy and negotiation required to bring justice for consumers. One of his most storied victories entails hundreds of millions of dollars in tobacco litigation, involving the “lite tobacco” cases. Sheller was deemed by the press and his colleagues “the Leader of the 'Lite' Brigade” for his acumen in the complex litigation.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Brian McCormick, Jr. was an investigator and analyst for the FBI, investigating organized crime and government corruption. He has also been a newspaper journalist. These experiences serve whistleblowers and their cases uniquely because of his ability to probe behind the scenes, think creatively about where corporations might hide the evidence of their malfeasance, and ask the right questions to achieve justice for the whistleblowers, consumers, and the U.S. Government.
Other attorneys at Sheller, P.C. bring their unique experience in the pursuit of whistleblower/qui tam cases, including expertise in the latest, cutting-edge use of technology and national-scale investigation and litigation.
What is Whistleblower/qui tam?
The term "Qui Tam" comes from a Latin phrase that means "he who brings an action for the king as well as himself." An employee or affiliate that witnesses illegal action or wrongdoing that harms or defrauds chooses to step forward, often at personal and financial peril, to expose a corporation, government or other entity in the name of justice. In the case of pharmaceutical companies, the recent cases have entailed active illegal marketing of drugs off-label or falsely as superior to others despite evidence to the contrary, or uses various forms of influence to secure business at an inflated profit thereby defrauding government health programs.
When a whistleblower chooses to step forward, he or she may be ostracized, fired, or worse. Whistleblowers deserve the representation Sheller, P.C. provides that will protect their livelihood, their families and their peace of mind during and after the process.
Whistleblower/qui tam and the U.S. Government
Basically, Qui Tam affords a private citizen the right to come forward and file a lawsuit on behalf of the government in an effort to recover losses caused by fraud against the government. This law is meant to persuade and protect individuals to come forward when they become aware of fraudulent activities or false claims being committed against the government and thereby stealing from taxpayers.
Directed to the conscientious employee or representative who has been a witness to, and maybe a victim of institutional corruption that defrauds the government, the Sheller firm has been at the forefront of protecting the rights of those individuals who step forward.
The False Claims Act
The False Claims Act states that whistleblowers be rewarded with a percentage of the money that the government recovers as a result of their qui tam lawsuits. This provision helps encourage people to assist the government in reducing Medicare fraud; defense fraud and other kinds of fraud despite the effect whistle-blowing might have on their jobs and personal lives.
Under the False Claims Act the government may recover up to three times the amount of money it lost as a result of the defendant's fraud. The whistle-blower's share is calculated based upon the amount the government recovers, not the actual losses. The False Claims Act protects whistleblowers who file qui tam lawsuits from being fired, demoted and harassed by their employer.
A number of factors determine how much money a whistle-blower will receive if the government is able to recover money from the defendant. If the government joins the case, the whistle-blower could be entitled to at least 15 percent but not more than 25 percent of what the government recovers.
If the government declines to join the case and the whistle-blower continues with a suit against the defendant, the whistle-blower could be entitled to at least 25 percent but not more than 30 percent of the money the government recovers.
Sheller, P.C. is actively investigating new and existing whistleblower/qui tam claims. If you have a possible whistleblower action or think you might be eligible to join one in progress, contact Sheller, P.C. immediately to learn your rights and protect you and your family personally, professionally, and financially. No case is too small to consider as some that seem smaller have much larger implications for justice being served for consumers and the government . Contact us for a confidential consultation, (800) 883-2299 or use the response form on this page.
Sheller, P.C. Information for Whistleblowers
Court documents available on request: click here
The National Law Journal, April 28, 2010: Whistleblower Suits Against AstraZeneca Settle for $520 Million