For fiscal 2010, which ended in September, such recoveries totaled $3 billion in civil judgments and settlements, the department said in a news release. About three-quarters of that amount resulted from so-called “qui tam” lawsuits brought by whistleblowers who are then entitled to between 15 percent and 30 percent of the money recovered. For fiscal 2010, their share came to $385 million.
Some 83 percent of the $3 billion total resulted from health care fraud claims, such as a $669 million settlement with drugmaker Pfizer, but cases involving defense contracts, small business grants, and federally insured mortgages also paid off, the department said in the release. Although no specific whistleblower cases were cited for fiscal 2010, the department last week reported that Jonathan Oberg, a former Education Department employee, would receive $16.65 million out of almost $58 million in False Claims Act settlements aimed at resolving allegations that four student aid lenders created billing systems that allowed them to garner improperly inflated interest rate subsidies from the federal government.