With a few exceptions, a relator (i.e., a whistleblower) can be anyone who has direct and independent knowledge of fraud against the government. However, practically speaking, in order for a relator’s suit to be successful, a relator will need to have substantial evidence of the fraud.
A person who has been convicted of crime for his or her participation in conduct giving rise to false claims submitted to the government cannot be a relator. If a person has not been convicted of a crime, but is found by the court to have planned and initiated the FCA violation, he or she can still be a relator but may have a reduced recovery.
A former or present member of the military cannot be a relator if he or she is alleging FCA violations against another member of the military for conduct during that person’s military service.
The first-to-file bar also limits who can be a relator. If a suit has already been brought, another person cannot bring “a related action based on the facts” in the first suit. The first-to-file bar literally creates a race to the courthouse and dictates that only the first whistleblower will be able to maintain a suit for FCA violations.
If you believe you have a False Claims Act case, contact the Rabon Law Firm for a free consultation.