Florida Local Government Fraud Lawyer
In an effort to combat fraud being perpetrated against the government, federal lawmakers passed the False Claims Act, which allows individuals with knowledge of healthcare fraud, education fraud, or procurement fraud, to file a civil claim on behalf of the government. Most states, including Florida, also have state versions of this law, which give whistleblowers the opportunity to report the use of fraud and deceptive practices by unscrupulous healthcare providers, educational institutions, and private contractors in Florida. These laws also exist at the municipal level. Broward County, Miami-Dade County, and other cities in Florida, for instance, have all enacted False Claims Ordinances to protect county governments from fraudulent schemes. To learn more about filing a whistleblower claim against the entity or individual defrauding your city, please call one of our experienced Florida local government fraud lawyers for help.
Types of Government Fraud at the Municipal Level
Government agencies are major targets for fraud schemes. This is true regardless of whether the agency in question operates at a federal, state, or local level. In fact, historically, some of the most significant government fraud schemes involved small, local government agencies, as these entities often have less oversight and fewer resources than large scale agencies. The main types of fraud that primarily affect municipal governments can be broken down into three categories:
- Corruption, such as bribery of government officials;
- Asset misappropriation, including the theft of government funds or property, the misapplication of funds, and overcharging government contracts; and
- Fraudulent financial statements, such as reporting fictitious revenues, concealing expenses and liabilities, and falsifying documents to conceal illegal activity.
While corruption has often proven to be the most commonly reported type of local government fraud, schemes involving the use of fraudulent financial statements tend to be more costly per occurrence. Asset misappropriation, on the other hand, while more common than other types of fraud is often found to be less costly in the long run. Unfortunately, over time, all of these fraud schemes tend to have a significant financial impact, as fraudulent activity is often not discovered until serious damage has occurred.
Filing a Claim Under a Local False Claims Act
Many municipalities have adopted their own qui tam lawsuit procedures by modeling their local laws after state and federal statutes. Broward County’s False Claims Ordinance, for instance, allows whistleblowers to file civil actions against individuals or entities that have defrauded a local agency. Successful plaintiffs are entitled to between 15 and 25 percent of the recovery that the county pursues. Miami-Dade’s false claims law similarly allows whistleblowers who know of violations to file a civil claim on behalf of their county. In the event that a county decides to pursue an action, the whistleblower can recover ten percent of the recovery. If, on the other hand, a whistleblower is forced to pursue the case independently, he or she will receive 25 percent of any monetary award.
Filing a Whistleblower Claim on Behalf of Local Government
To speak with an experienced local government fraud lawyer about your own whistleblower claim-related concerns, please call Rabin Kammerer Johnson at 561-659-7878. A member of our legal team is standing by to help you get started on your case.