Freedman Law, LLC represents employees who have been wrongfully terminated from their jobs, including many different types of whistleblowers. Recently, there has been an uptick in whistleblower claims related to the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). The PPP is a federal government program administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration for the purpose of issuing loans to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus pandemic. The loans were meant for businesses facing hardships because of the pandemic. Unfortunately, some businesses and individuals took advantage of the “free money” and sought to obtain funds fraudulently taking advantage of the speed at which the program was rolled out. The Department of Justice has been cracking down on individuals that fraudulently obtained PPP money. See https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/six-charged-connection-3-million-paycheck-protection-program-fraud-scheme.
Whistleblower lawsuits related to fraudulent PPP practices have been popping up around the country. For example, an individual recently filed a retaliation lawsuit against a Florida corporation, Great Dane Petroleum Contractors, Inc., for precisely this issue. The lawsuit can be read here. The Florida based whistleblower claimed that the company collected $2,850,500.00 in federal PPP monies and then fraudulently altered payroll records to reflect fictitious payroll expenses for time not worked by employees. The plaintiff represented in her complaint that the company fraudulently altered payroll records to falsely make it appear that it had complied with the PPP’s requirements. Finally, the complaint alleges that the individual was put on administrative leave just days after her last complaints and fired shortly thereafter. The Plaintiff brought a claim of retaliation pursuant the False Claims Act and similar Florida whistleblower statutes. The False Claims act is a federal statute originally enacted in 1863 in response to defense contractor fraud during the American Civil War. Today is it the federal government’s primary litigation tool in combating fraud committed against the government. Importantly, retaliation for raising complaints related to fraud against the government is prohibited under the statute.
Freedman Law, LLC regularly represents individuals who have been retaliated against for raising good-faith complaints of fraud committed against the government, including Medicare and health care fraud. If you have been the victim of unlawful retaliation, please call our firm today at (301) 750-9766 to schedule a consultation.