Whistleblower Law Blog
Topic: New York False Claims Act
New York continued to crack down on tax cheats under its strengthened False Claims Act (FCA), awarding a whistleblower more than $300,000 for reporting an out-of-state retailer’s failure to collect sales tax on high-end appliances it delivered to New York customers.
A well-known New York City tailor pled guilty to tax-evasion charges and separately agreed to pay $5.5 million to settle a related whistleblower case brought under New York State’s False Claims Act (FCA).
The whistleblower, Vijay Tharwani, a former employee of the tailor, will receive $1.1 million of the settlement.
The case marked the first time the state’s recently strengthened FCA has been used successfully in a tax case; in 2010, New York became the first state to authorize citizens to sue tax cheats on its behalf.
New York recently amended its False Claims Act (FCA) by expanding the Act’s coverage and strengthening the Act’s whistleblower protections. The New York FCA now applies to violations of New York tax law when the violator’s income from sales exceeds one million for the year in which the violation took place. Furthermore, whistleblower protections are now afforded to contractors and agents in addition to employees, and whistleblowers are now protected when they are “harmed or penalized by an employer, or prospective employer” because of “lawful acts done by the employee, contractor, agent, or associated others.” The amendments explicitly confirm that the keeping of documents evidencing fraud or transmitting those documents to the government or the whistleblower’s attorney is a “lawful act” even when the activity violates a contract or a duty of the employee so long as that activity furthers efforts to stop one or more FCA violations.
For information about The Employment Law Group® and its False Claims Act Whistleblower Practice.
The Attorney General of New York has settled its lawsuit against Sodexo, a provider of school lunches, for $20 million. Two whistleblowers, John and Jay Carciero, filed the qui tam action alleging Sodexo received illegal kickbacks from the vendors it selected for school lunch programs. Under New York law, whistleblowers are entitled to a reward of up to 20% of the recouped funds.