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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 34138
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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You recently answered my inquiry about the California Education

Resolved Question:

You recently answered my inquiry about the California Education Code. I have a follow-up question.

CalSTRS recently sent me a very large check by accident for benefits. All of the data on the check was correct--my name, address, social security number, account number, etc. I could not verify the number since there was no covernote or explanation. I almost cashed it, but because it was so large I called them first to be sure it was properly calculated. They told me it was improperly calculated and I had to return the check immediately, which I did. They are preparing to send me a check for the correct amount. Am I eligible for any kind of recovery or finder's fee from the State of California for finding and returning state property?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
To my knowledge, there is no legal theory or statute under which you could recover for what is effectively, blowing the whistle on yourself.

If you have some particular law in mind, feel free to tell me what that is -- because nothing is poping into my mind at this point.

Hope this helps.


And, if you need to contact me again, please put my user id on the title line of your question (“ToCustomerrdquo;), and the system will send me an alert. Thanks!

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Makes sense that I would not collect a reward for turning myself in. But I am wondering, specifically, whether there is a CA equivalent of the False Claims Act that might reward me with a share of the savings derived from blowing the whistle on operating conditions at a government agency, which led to the wrong check being issued. And upon investigating, the California State Auditor's offices finds that there were numerous "wrong" checks issued, damages are awarded, and I get a percent of the recovered funds. (FYI, the magnitude of error on my check alone is big--very big--and the state's auditor would be very interested.) Alternatively, perhaps CalSTRS is a CA agency that receives Federal Funding and so the False Claims Act would apply.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
The Cal. False Claims Act (Govt. Code 12650-12656) enumerates eight different potential claims (section 12651). They all share one common element: the defendant must "knowingly" commit the wrongful act against the State. An accidental/inadvertant payment error, no matter how negligent is not committed with knowledge of the wrongful conduct. Therefore, I don't see how the check paid to you could ever rise to the level of a False Claim. That said, take a look at the law and maybe you can come up with something.

Hope this helps.


And, if you need to contact me again, please put my user id on the title line of your question (“ToCustomerrdquo;), and the system will send me an alert. Thanks!

socrateaser, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 34138
Experience: Retired (mostly)
socrateaser and 2 other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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