Private Citizens rewarded when they recoup funds fraudulently charged and paid by local governments.  The California False Claims Act.

by Stewart D. Jenkins

     Unscrupulous individuals and companies that dupe Cities and Counties into paying out false claims submitted, or collude with government officials to keep public funds from being charged or collected lawfully, can cost local governments millions of dollars.  In a Qui Tam suit, Treble Damages and other penalties can be recovered.  Where political or other factors prevent the prosecuting attorney in a City or County from bringing suit to recover the ill-gotten gains, California authorizes a private citizen can sue on behalf of their local government; and the successful private Qui Tam plaintiff shares not less than 25% and not more than 50% of the recovered funds as a reward for his or her trouble.  A successful private Qui Tam plaintiff is also entitled to an award of reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses against the defendant(s). 

Gov. C. § 12652.

      However, where a local government has declined to sue, and the private Qui Tam plaintiff fails to win, the defendant may seek an attorney’s fees and costs award in some circumstances.