Qui Tam Actions & Fraud Disclosures
If you have inside knowledge about false claims being made against the government, you could be entitled to a significant cash reward in a qui tam or whistleblower lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act. An estimated $6 billion has been recovered for the government, resulting in nearly $1 billion in rewards for whistleblowers, since the False Claims Act was revised in 1986 to make it easier for citizens to file qui tam actions.
Qui tam is the abbreviated Latin phrase that translates, in practical terms, to whistleblowers speaking up about fraud. The False Claims Act (FCA), also known as the Whistleblower Act, Qui Tam Statute or Lincoln Law, gives any citizen the power to bring claims against companies or individuals over financial fraud committed against the government.
Qui tam actions under the FCA allow private citizens with knowledge of fraud to help the government recover ill-gotten profits and other civil penalties. Criminal proceedings can also stem from the action. The whistleblowers, known as “relators” under the FCA, who come forward with the fraud are generally entitled to between 15 and 30 percent of any damages collected under the law.
Qui tam actions usually involve false claims made to the government for payment or approval of claims. These false claims can be generated through the submission of false records, statements or other representations made to the government.
Questions About Your Employer’s Possible Fraud Against the Government?
If you suspect your employer is defrauding the federal government, contact the Louthian Law Firm today toll free at (803) 454-1200 or online for a free evaluation of your case. We can confidentially review the facts in your case, advise you about whether your claim has merit and inform you about how the False Claims Act protects whistleblowers from retribution in the workplace – all for no charge.
Damages in Qui Tam Lawsuits
A lawsuit under the False Claims Act can result in the company or individual who committed the fraud paying three times the amount of monetary damages sustained by the government, plus a penalty. The penalty is set by the court and is an amount between $10,781 and $21,563 per fraudulent claim.
In some instances, a “claim” is interpreted as each individual bill or request for government payment, multiplying the size of the penalty according to the number of fraudulent bills submitted.
How Awards Are Determined in Qui Tam Lawsuits
Many factors play into how much a whistleblower can recover in a qui tam suit. The False Claims Act leaves lots of room for discretion in deciding what percentage of the recovery the whistleblower will receive. The exact amount of the award is fixed by the court that hears the case.
Relators who promptly report fraud and provide significant assistance to the government will generally receive a larger cut. Other factors include the level of government involvement in the suit, extent of participation by the person who initiated the suit and origin of the information on which the suit is based.
An experienced attorney such as the ones at Louthian Law Firm can help you present your best case to the government in order to maximize your reward. In addition to the monetary reward, the False Claims Act also permits whistleblowers to recover their legal fees and costs from the party that perpetrated the fraud.
How Do I File a Claim Under the False Claims Act?
An experienced qui tam attorney like the ones at the Louthian Law Firm can assess your case and help you file the necessary disclosure statement with the government if you have a valid case. In some instances, the government will “intervene” or take part in your lawsuit. A qualified attorney can help you structure your claims in such a way that the government will be persuaded to intervene in your case, possibly increasing the likelihood that you will recover reward money. However, even if the government doesn’t decide to intervene, it might still be advisable to pursue your case without government involvement.
For a free, confidential evaluation of your whistleblower claim, call the Louthian Law Firm today toll free at (803) 454-1200 or fill out the online consultation form.