QUI TAM / WHISTLEBLOWER CLAIMS / GOVERNMENT FRAUD / FALSE CLAIMS ACT
A suit under the False Claims Act, also known as a “qui tam” action, allows people who have insider information of fraud against the Government, known as a “relator” or “whistleblower,” to file a suit to help stop the perpetrators from defrauding the United States Government. The False Claims Act seeks to deter fraud against the United States Government by providing for penalties of three times the amount of the fraud in addition to fines of $5,000 to $10,000 per violation. It is estimated that the United States has collected almost $8 billion in fines and penalties in False Claims Act cases since 1986.
The False Claims Act encourages whistleblowers that are aware of fraud being perpetrated against the Government to report and civilly prosecute those responsible for the unlawful actions against the United States. If the whistleblower’s case is either settled or a judgment is rendered against the offending defendant, the whistleblower is entitled to up to 30% of the Government’s recovery as a reward for coming forward. The False Claims Act also prohibits employers from retaliating against whistleblowers, and allows whistleblowers that are retaliated against to sue for their damages. Ultimately, whistleblowers save the United States money by recouping the fraudulent losses they report and by deterring future frauds against the Government.
It is critical that the whistleblower come forward with his information as soon as possible. The False Claims Act requires that the relator be an “original source” of the information, which generally means that he has direct and independent knowledge of the fraudulent conduct and he has voluntarily provided this information to the Government before filing the qui tam suit. Information about fraudulent conduct which is in the public domain prior to the time the whistleblower reports the same to the Government generally precludes the prosecution of a qui tam suit.
Frauds against the Government which may be subject to the False Claims Act can involve a wide variety of conduct, including but not limited to:
- False billings or invoices by Government contractors, i.e., defense contractors
- False invoices by Government suppliers
- False environmental compliance reports to Government agencies
- False Medicare and Medicaid invoices by health care providers
- False reporting of mineral lease royalties
- False tax returns
Travers W. Paine III, PC has the knowledge and experience to aggressively represent whistleblowers and best pursue their qui tam claims. If you believe you have information regarding a false claim having been made against the United States Government, you need to immediately contact experienced counsel to discuss your rights. If your employer retaliates against you because you know about or have reported fraudulent practices or if you have uncovered illegal activity that you wish to report, contact Mr. Paine (Link to Contact Tab) to schedule a consultation with us and, together, we’ll decide how to protect your career.
Remember that whistleblower and retaliation claims on behalf of employees can include claims arising out of all of the following areas:
- Healthcare Fraud – Medicare & Medicaid Reimbursement
- Tax Fraud
- Stocks & Securities Fraud – SEC compliance
- Financial Institutions – Banks & Credit Unions
- Public Transportation