Florida False Claims Act
Most all states have laws which provide for Whistleblower rights and protections. Based upon the nature of your whistleblower claim, and the state in which it arises, whistleblower counsel should refer to any state laws which apply in addition to the primary remedy available under the federal False Claims Act.
The Florida False Claims Act (§68.081) allows Whistleblowers to bring suit in the name of the State of Florida where a wrongdoer engages in conduct that defrauds the state or local governments of taxpayer dollars. The law is a broad and far reaching statute designed to address an array of wrongdoing from health care fraud, to fraud involving any type of government contract or business relationship involving state or local money.
Similar to the Federal False Claim Act, the Florida False Claims Act’s purpose is to deter persons from knowingly causing or assisting in causing the state government to pay claims that are false or fraudulent, protect Whistleblowers from retaliation, and to provide remedies for obtaining treble damages and civil penalties for state government when money is obtained from state government by reason of a false or fraudulent claim. To show that there has been fraudulent claims under the Florida False Claim Act, a Whistleblower must know that their company;
- Has actual knowledge of the information;
- Acts in deliberate ignorance of the truth or falsity of the information; or
- Acts in reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the information;
- Knowingly presents or causes to be presented to an officer or employee of an agency a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval;
- Knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made, or used a false record or statement to get a false or fraudulent claim paid, or approved by an agency;
- Conspires to submit a false or fraudulent claim to an agency or to deceive an agency for the purpose of getting a false or fraudulent claim allowed or paid;
- Has possession, custody, control of property, money used, or to be used by an agency, and intending to deceive the agency, or knowingly conceal the property, delivers or causes to be delivered less property than the amount for which the person receives a certificate or receipt;
- Is authorized to make or deliver a document certifying receipt of property used or to be used by an agency, and intending to deceive the agency, makes or delivers the receipt without knowing that the information on the receipt is true;
- Knowingly buys or receives, as a pledge of an obligation or a debt, public property from an officer or employee of an agency who may not sell or pledge the property lawfully; or
- Knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used a false record or statement to conceal, avoid, or decrease an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to an agency.