Former consultant lands 19.15m USD for blowing whistle on Verizon

According to a Courthouse News article (here) and a Bloomberg article (here), Verizon agreed to pay the federal government $93.5 million to settle claims that it overbilled the federal government for tax-like surcharges and property taxes that it wasn't entitled to impose.  Verizon reached the settlement back in April of 2011.  

The whistleblower (or "qui tam") lawsuit was filed in 2007 by Stephen Shea, former managing director of a company that provided consulting services to Verizon.  Shea brought the suit on behalf of the U.S. government to obtain reimbursement for the government.

This week, U.S. District Judge Gladys Keller awarded the Shea 20 percent of the $93.5 million recovery, and 15 percent of an additional $3 million recovery.  In entering the award, Keller found that without Shea's assistance, Verizon's fraudulent overbilling "may never have been discovered and understood."

A qui tam lawsuit, brought under the False Claims Act, allows private individuals to file suits on behalf of the federal government, and earn 15 percent to 25 percent of the recovery.  Many states, including Missouri, allow individuals to bring actions on behalf of state governments, albeit in more limited circumstances such as overbilling Medicare and Medicaid.