Click Fraud Protection $10 Million "Reverse" False Claims Act Qui Tam Settlement - Tycko & Zavareei LLP
Tycko & Zavareei LLP Logo
HomeSuccesses$10 Million “Reverse” False Claims Act Qui Tam Settlement

$10 Million “Reverse” False Claims Act Qui Tam Settlement

Outcome: $10,075,320 Settlement | $2,070,000 Relator Reward

U.S. ex rel. Mustafa v. Najjar, No. 6:10-cv-00414, 2015 WL 4606265 in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida

In this whistleblower case, U.S. ex rel. Mustafa v. Najjar, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida awarded a victory for relators under the False Claims Act (FCA). The court’s decision reinforced the right of whistleblowers to receive a portion of the proceeds from government settlements in qui tam actions.

Background of the Case

In the original complaint, the relator accused defendant Samir Najjar of violating the “reverse” False Claims Act. Samir Najjar was alleged to have acquired extensive real estate assets through shadow corporations to avoid repaying a government judgment. While not named as a defendant in the relator’s initial complaint, it was also asserted that Lee Najjar, Samir’s brother, played a key role in executing the scheme by transferring properties and posing as the head of said corporations. When Mr. Mustafa learned of the fraud, he went to Tycko & Zavareei LLP to blow the whistle on Samir Najjar’s deception. In March 2008, Partner Jon Tycko filed a qui tam complaint against Samir Najjar.

Government Intervention and Settlement

The federal government intervened, filing its Complaint, naming both Samir and Lee Najjar as defendants and building upon the relator’s allegations. Subsequent to the government’s investigative efforts, a settlement was reached where Samir Najjar agreed to a $10 million judgment. The agreement acknowledged the relator’s stake, granting him 20% of any funds recovered.

Additional Litigation and Trial

Later, after a period of ongoing litigation and with a trial impending, the government settled with Lee Najjar for a payment of $250,000. The relator claimed entitlement to a 20% share of this settlement, citing the identical foundational allegations in both settlements. At odds with the claimant, the government denied this share, as the relator’s initial complaint didn’t specifically name Lee Najjar as a defendant.

Court’s Ruling

Presented with a first-impression question, the district court decided in favor of the relator based on the broad objectives of the FCA. Despite not formally naming Lee Najjar, the relator had sufficiently outlined the fraudulent agenda implicating both brothers, hence fulfilling the purpose of the FCA and meriting recompense.

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you.