"Despite their vast resources, we take on the most powerful corporations in the United States and the world. Our attorneys make sure the truth is told and convince judges and juries that our client's case is righteous."

Robert J. Nelson, Partner and Chair of the False Claims Act Practice Group

False Claims Act & Whistleblower Law

Obtaining recoveries for whistleblowers and upholding the public trust

Lieff Cabraser represents whistleblowers in a wide range of False Claims Act cases, including medicare and healthcare fraud, defense contractor fraud, securities and financial fraud, and many other false claims. We have the resources, experience, and skill to appropriately investigate even the largest and most complex matters and take them all the way through trial.

Lieff Cabraser's Whistleblower Law (False Claims Act) Practice Group

False Claims Act Whistleblower Law Summarized

The False Claims Act prohibits people and companies from defrauding the federal government by knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, a false claim for payment or approval. The act is designed to prevent losses to the federal government. Violations of the False Claims Act can result in judgment in an amount equal to three times the amount of losses the U.S. Treasury sustained, plus civil fines.

Almost any type of fraud in which the government has paid money, or has been billed for money, based on fraudulent claims likely falls under the False Claims Act. Many successful False Claims Act cases have involved Medicare and military contracting fraud, while other successful cases have dealt with federal funding for environmental, energy, farm and education programs, among others.

Who can be a whistleblower?

The "qui tam" provision of the False Claims Act allows a person or people to act as whistleblowers and sue the wrongdoer on behalf of the U.S. government. In such cases, the whistleblower is referred to as a "relator." These cases are known as qui tam lawsuits.

A successful whistleblower is entitled to a percentage (ranging from 15 to 30 percent) of the total amount of monies the government recovers as a result of the lawsuit.

Any person or entity that has evidence of a fraud occurring against the government may act as a whistleblower under the False Claims Act. Please read our False Claims Act FAQ for comprehensive answers to your questions about whistleblower rights and whistleblower law.

Attorney Robert Nelson Describes the Top 3 Factors in Selecting a False Claims Act Lawyer and Whistleblower Law Firm

Other whistleblower laws

Under the financial reform legislation enacted in 2010, known as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, whistleblowers who provide the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission with information about a violation of federal securities laws may be entitled to a reward if the government acts on that information. The recovery in this type of whistleblower case can be from 10 to 30 percent of the amount the government collects.

The majority of states now also have qui tam or similar statutes, and so claims involving losses to states may also be actionable.

The Internal Revenue Service has its own separate whistleblower provision as well for tax fraud.

False Claims Act Attorneys

Lieff Cabraser's successes in False Claims Act cases include helping former University of Phoenix enrollment counselors receive a portion of a $78.5 million settlement, the largest settlement ever in a qui tam case involving the U.S. Department of Education. The complaint alleged that the University of Phoenix defrauded the Department of Education by obtaining federal student loan and Pell Grant monies based on false statements of compliance with the Higher Education Act.

For his outstanding work as Lead Counsel and the significance of the case, California Lawyer magazine recognized Robert J. Nelson, the Chair of our False Claims Act practice group, with a California Lawyer of the Year (CLAY) Award.

Because several of our cases remain under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice or state governments, we do not list all of our current False Claims Act and qui tam cases.

Current Cases

Cephalon Off-Label Marketing

Lieff Cabraser, with co-counsel, represents four whistleblowers bringing claims on behalf of the U.S. Government and various states under the federal and state False Claims Acts against Cephalon, Inc., a pharmaceutical company.

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Alleged off-label marketing
Unnecessary Surgery (Heart Stent Defibrillators)

From fiscal year 2004 to fiscal year 2009, the Medicare program paid over $25 billion for cardiac stent procedures. Fraud, waste and abuse in the health care system is estimated to cost Americans at least $60 billion a year – three percent of total health care spending.

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Fraud in Medicare and Medicaid


University of Phoenix

We served as Lead Plaintiffs' Counsel for former University of Phoenix enrollment counselors. The complaint alleged the school knowingly misled the U.S. Department of Education to become eligible for its students to collect financial aid.

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$78.5 million settlement
Office Depot Government Pricing

Office Depot promised in the U.S. Communities contract to sell office supplies at its best governmental pricing nationwide. The complaint alleged that Office Depot repeatedly failed to give most of its California governmental customers the lowest price it was offering other governmental customers.

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$77.5 million settlement
Sutter Anesthesia Billing

This qui tam (whistleblower) lawsuit charges that Sutter hospitals, one of the largest hospital chains in California, submitted false bills for anesthesia services.

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$46 million settlement

We represented a whistleblower who alleged that ATK Launch Systems knowingly sold defective and potentially dangerous illumination flares to the United States military.

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$37 million settlement
Avaya, Lucent & AT&T

Lieff Cabraser represented whistleblowers in litigation alleging that defendants Avaya, Lucent Technologies, and AT&T violated the Federal Civil False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 et seq., as amended), and the False Claims Acts of California and several other states.

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$21.75 million settlement
State Street False Claims

Lieff Cabraser served as co-counsel for the whistleblowers in this action against State Street Corporation.

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California Attorney General intervention

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"One of the nation's premier plaintiffs' firms." American Lawyer

"Representing the best qualities of the plaintiffs' bar." The National Law Journal