by Brian Mahany
Early this morning I wrote about the never ending battle against fraud. This afternoon, a little bit of good news.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that last year the state, several counties and a private investigative firm were able to identify over $14 million in fraud within the FoodShare and Medicaid programs. Every dollar saved is a dollar that honest taxpayers don’t have to pay.
We were disappointed when a few years ago the state’s fraud prevention programs were axed because of budget cuts. As most Wisconsinites probably already knew, cutting fraud prevention is penny wise and dollar foolish. According to the news article, the renewed fraud efforts are more than paying for themselves.
Government’s efforts usually rely on hotlines, audits and sometimes private investigators. Wisconsin relies on all three. Some of the biggest savings, however, often come from whistleblowers; women and men within an organization that have inside information about overbilling and fraud.
The federal government and most states have false claims laws that allow ordinary people with inside information about fraud to get a portion of what the government collects. The rules are fairly simple; the information can’t be public and it must involve a loss to a government program.
A common false claims act case occurs when a medical billing clerk reports false billings, overcharges or unnecessary medical procedures. If patients receiving the care are on Medicare, a good case probably exists. Medicare is federally funded. Lenders that write bad loans only to have the FHA or Fannie Mae pay on the loan guarantee is another example. Public works projects using inferior or foreign materials may also qualify.
We believe that whistleblowers are the new American heroes. By coming forward and reporting fraud, taxes are reduced, corruption is stopped and people that really need services and help can receive it.
To make a claim under the false claims laws, a lawsuit is filed under seal (meaning it is secret until unsealed) in state or federal court. The government is then given an opportunity to examine the evidence and determine if the losses are significant and the result of fraud. While small frauds typically aren’t prosecuted as false claims cases, large frauds are often adopted by the state and feds. The tipster or whistleblower providing the information typically gets 20 to 25% of what is collected. Uncover a million dollar fraud and the payday isn’t bad.
For more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany. Our whistleblower lawyers are involved in a wide variety of cases from cases against hospitals to major banks and mortgage lenders. Brian can be reached at or by telephone at (direct). All calls are protected by the attorney – client privilege and kept in strict confidence.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan; Portland, Maine; Minneapolis, Minnesota and San Francisco, California. Fraud recovery available in many jurisdictions.
Need more information? Our Due Diligence blog has a search engine located in the upper right hand corner. For more information on specific fraud topics, just type in the key words such as “whistleblower” in the search bar. We have many informative articles on our site.