Fraud against the Municipality is prohibited by AMC 1.60. If you are aware of someone:
- submitting false claims to the municipality for money or property,
- or unlawfully avoiding an obligation to make a required payment to the Municipality,
you have options. And legal protections if you “blow the whistle.”
Develop a Suit for the Municipality
Under the Municipality’s False Claims and Whistleblower Protection ordinance, you can develop a lawsuit to defend the Municipality’s interests – and keep 10% to 30% of what is ultimately recovered.
Lawsuits developed by private parties for the Municipality’s benefit are governed by AMC 1.60.110B. The process begins with a proposed legal “complaint,” that must:
- outline violations of AMC 1.60.100
- be signed and verified,
- include all material evidence and information in your possession to support the allegations in your complaint, and
- be submitted to the Municipal Attorney’s office for review.
We strongly recommend that individuals interested in developing a lawsuit for the Municipality consult with an attorney.
After review, the Municipal Attorney will elect: (1) to bring the case, (2) to designate your attorney to bring the case as “special assistant municipal counsel,” or (3) provide you with a written explanation as to why the Municipal Attorney’s office will neither bring the case, nor authorize your attorney to do so.
Please note, the Municipality’s False Claims ordinance does not extend to small claims (of less than $10,000), or to any form of property tax claims.
If you are not interested in developing a lawsuit for the Municipality, but are aware of fraud committed, or being committed, against the Municipality you can also simply report the fraud to the appropriate authority for investigation. To do so, please contact the Municipal Attorney at:
MUNICIPALITY OF ANCHORAGEOffice of the Municipal Attorney P.O. Box 196650Anchorage, AK 99519Phone: 907-343-4545Fax: 907-343-4550Email: MunicipalAttorney@muni.org
Municipal law affords protections to whistleblowers. Under AMC 1.60.120, you cannot be discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of your employment, for developing a complaint about, or reporting a violation of AMC 1.60.
Anchorage’s False Claims and Whistleblower Protection ordinance is modeled on the Federal False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 et seq., some version of which has been adopted by at least 29 states and several local jurisdictions. The ordinance adopts language used in the Federal False Claims Act to prohibit specified forms of fraud and false claims, including the knowing failure to pay amounts owed; it imposes civil penalties of between $2,000 and $10,000; and it provides for up to treble damages. It does not permit qui tam lawsuits in the typical manner, but instead authorizes private plaintiffs to be designated “special counsel” for the Municipality, in the manner adopted by at least one other local jurisdiction. For questions, please contact the Municipal Attorney’s office at 343-4545.