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What is the Average Whistleblower Settlement?
The Average Whistleblower Settlement as reported by the US Department of Justice in 2016: Over last 30 years there has been an average of 377 new federal False Claims Act (FCA) cases filed under the act’s qui tam provisions each year. The mathmatical average of the total recoveries (settlements and judgments) for this time period is approximately $3.3 million, with an average whistleblower award of $562,000. In the last five years the figures have gone up across the board: with an average of 693 new cases filed annually, with average recoveries of $4.8 million and whistleblower awards of $837,000. It should be noted that the average recovery in healthcare fraud cases (which is the biggest single industry listed in the government’s statistics) in the last five years is over $5 million, with average whistleblower awards of nearly $865,000.
Of course, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. At one time most FCA whistleblower settlements tended to be similar in nature, although the amount of the settlement always varied depending on the size of the case. It was common to have a simple agreement between a whistleblower (known technically as the "relator"), the government and the defendant. The defendant agreed to pay the government a certain amount of money for resolving the relator’s “qui tam” allegations and the defendant agreed to pay the whistleblower's attorneys their statutory fees (essentially the attorneys' hourly rate times the hours worked). Concurrently, the government agreed to pay the whistleblower a share of any proceeds it recovered from the defendant (usually between 15% and 25%). All three parties typically released the others from all future claims.