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When you have knowledge of illegal activities in a business and make a report to the governing authorities, you might be called a whistleblower. One of the most famous whistleblowers is W. Mark Felt, who most people only knew as Deep Throat until 2005 when his name was revealed. Under the Fair Claims Act (FCA), private individuals may sue an entity that is committing fraud against the government. The whistleblower gets a commission of the funds recovered, but it is a long and lengthy process. The Potts Law Firm offers qui tam attorneys that help you through the process.
Qui tam is a Latin phrase that means “who as well.” It is a reference to the person who is bringing the case, the whistleblower. Most commonly, a qui tam case is for Medicaid or Medicare fraud and defense contractor frauds. 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, after investigation, the government may join the suit. 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 the documentation to the government about the case.
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. However, once the case is brought to the Justice Department, it’s typically out of the whistleblower’s hands. You just have to wait for the investigation to continue. A whistleblower is not even supposed to complain about the time involved, because they are acting on behalf of the government.
Under the laws that provide for whistleblowing, the individuals that bring the suit are protected against retaliation or discrimination because they did bring a claim against their business. This extends in many different industries, and many states have full protection for both public and private employees. Work with your qui tam attorneys to understand your rights in case that your employer does retaliate.
President Lincoln signed the federal FCA into effect in 1863, and in 2009, President Obama strengthened it by amending it to protect taxpayer dollars that were intended for economic relief. By changing the definition of key words, the FCA can reach federal funds spent by non-governmental agencies. 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.