If you work for a contractor or subcontractor on a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) project and you believe that your employer or another contractor or subcontractor on that project is engaged in fraud or any other illegal activity you may report what you know either to:
- Office of the Inspector General Metropolitan Transportation Authority Two Penn Plaza, 5th Floor New York, New York 10121 24-Hour Complaint Hotline 1-800-MTA-IG4U 1-800-682-4448
- New York State Attorney General Public Integrity Bureau 120 Broadway, 22nd Floor New York, New York 10005 Public Integrity Hotline 1-800-428-9072
Your employer may not fire, suspend, demote, or otherwise retaliate against because you lawfully report to the MTA or to the Attorney General what you believe to be:
- fraudulent conduct that violates New York's False Claims Act, or
- illegal conduct that creates and presents a substantial and specific threat to the public health or safety if you have first reported it to your supervisor.
New York State's False Claims Act prohibits anyone from submitting false or fraudulent claims to the MTA for payment or approval, and allows you to sue any person or any company that you have reason to believe is defrauding the MTA, even your employer. Called qui tam actions, these citizen lawsuits are an important tool for people to help New York State, public authorities such as the MTA, and local governments recover money or property they lose through fraud or corruption.
A person or company who violates the False Claims Act usually must pay three times the amount fraudulently obtained plus a civil penalty. If you file a qui tam action on behalf of the MTA you may be eligible to keep a percentage of whatever funds the MTA recovers.
Your employer may not lawfully fire, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, or otherwise retaliate against you for starting a qui tam action, and you may sue your employer if that happens.
You may start a qui tam action on the MTA's behalf without using an attorney, but the procedures are complicated and must be carefully followed. Most people rely on an attorney who specializes in False Claims Act cases. If you do rely on an attorney and the qui tam action is successful, you may be eligible for attorneys' fees plus other costs and expenses (in addition to your share of the money the MTA recovers). If you start a qui tam action, the Attorney General might take it over altogether, allow you to take part, or allow you to handle it on your own, but no matter what you would be eligible to a percentage of any funds the MTA recovered.