Qui Tam Whistleblower Litigation

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Sadly, our government is defrauded out of billions of dollars each year.  A qui tam lawsuit is a type of whistleblower action that helps the government combat that fraud.  Under federal law, these cases are covered by the False Claims Act.

The False Claims Act allows people who are not affiliated with the government to file actions against federal contractors claiming fraud against the government.  In other words, a private citizen can sue people or companies that have defrauded the government in order to recover for all Americans.

The False Claim Act covers (1) submitting payment or reimbursement for a claim known to be false or fraudulent; (2) making or using a false record or statement material to an obligation to pay money to the government; (3) engaging in a conspiracy to defraud by the improper submission of a false claim; or (4) concealing, improperly avoiding or decreasing an obligation to pay money to the government.

Thanks to whistleblowers bringing fraud to the federal government’s attention, qui tam cases have recovered over $31 billion for all United States citizens since 2009. If you have information regarding fraudulent acts committed toward the government, call The Potts Law Firm to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced commercial litigation attorneys.

COMMON RECOVERIES
  • Restitution
  • Civil penalties
  • Attorney’s fees
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some examples of a False Claim Act whistleblower case?

The False Claim Act covers a wide array of potential fraud.  For example, if a person knows that their employer is submitting false paperwork to Medicare to increase the money it gets from the government, the person could be a whistleblower under the False Claim Act. Or, if the company knows that it is receiving overpayments from the government on invoices but does not return the money, that could also potentially be covered by the False Claims Act.

If a government contractor is knowingly selling substandard or defective materials to the government, that can be considered submitting a false claim.

Courts have even found that pharmaceutical companies marketing drugs for purposes not specifically covered by the approval from the FDA can be covered by the False Claims Act.

What does "qui tam" mean?

It’s an abbreviation of the phrase “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur,” which means “he who brings an action for the king as well as for himself.”

Can anyone bring a qui tam lawsuit?

To recover in a qui tam lawsuit, the person must be an “original source” of the information related to the alleged fraud.  This means the person has direct and independent knowledge of the information on which the allegations are based and has voluntarily provided the information to the government.

What does qui tam litigation entail?

Most commonly, a qui tam case is for Medicaid or Medicare fraud and defense contractor fraud. Tax and securities violations are handled under a different category. Although the private citizen, the whistleblower, brings the lawsuit against the company that is defrauding the government, the government may join the suit after the investigation. The qui tam suit is kept secret while the case is being built. Qui tam attorneys protect the rights of the whistleblower and help the whistleblower provide case documentation to the government.

Many times, once the government intervenes in the case, criminal charges will also be brought against the individual, because legitimate lawsuits of the FCA typically also violate criminal laws. Once the case is brought to the Justice Department, it’s typically out of the whistleblower’s hands.

What is the government's role in the lawsuit?

After the qui tam lawsuit is filed, the government will investigate the allegations.  They will then decide whether they want to take over the prosecution of the case, or let you pursue the litigation on your own.  With the near limitless resources available to the government, it tremendously increases the chances of recovery when they decide to get involved in the litigation.

How much does the whistleblower recover for helping the government find the fraud?

The recovery in a qui tam case can vary, but typically the whistleblower and his attorneys can receive 10-15% of any recovery made by the government as a reward for bringing the fraud to light.

Is qui tam litigation exclusively dealing with claims falsely submitted to the federal government?

Qui tam litigation is not just limited to claims falsely submitted to the federal government.  Many states have similar laws for helping the government combat fraud.  For example, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico all have a Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act for claims submitted to Medicaid.

What kind of protection exists for whistleblowers?

Under the laws that provide for whistleblowing, individuals that bring suit are protected against retaliation or discrimination due to bringing a claim against their employer. This protection extends to many different industries, and many states have full protection for both public and private employees. You should work with your qui tam attorneys to understand your rights in the event that your employer does retaliate against you.

Will I receive compensation for a qui tam whistleblower case?

Under the Fair Claims Act (FCA), private individuals may sue an entity that is committing fraud against the government. The whistleblower receives a commission of the funds recovered, but it is a lengthy process.

If you are aware of an agency who is defrauding the government, contact The Potts Law Firm to see if you can bring a qui tam lawsuit.

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