A federal judge will decide the fate of a “whistleblower’s” and the United States Postal Service’s (“USPS”) lawsuit against cyclist Lance Armstrong and his now defunct racing company, Tailwind Sports. The False Claims Act (“FCA”) lawsuit, originally filed by Armstrong’s former teammate, Floyd Landis, alleges that Tailwind Sports and Armstrong unlawfully submitted bills to the federal government for sponsorship. Landis alleges that Tailwind athletes and Armstrong, who were sponsored by the USPS from 2001-2004, were involved in an illegal “doping” scheme, which allegedly violated material elements of their contract with the federal government.
The FCA allows the government to recover actual damages and penalties of three times those damages. The fraudulent government contractor is also hit with an $11,000 penalty per false claim. In November, those penalties per claim will raise to nearly $22,000 per claim.
At its core, the statute allows individuals (“whistleblowers”) to file lawsuits with allegations that fraud has been committed against the federal government. Whistleblowers are entitled to share in any recovery received by the government.