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Retaliation and Whistleblower

Qui Tam - False Claims Act

Qui tam lawsuits are brought by whistleblowers under the Federal False Claims Act against an individual or business that is defrauding the government. If successful, the whistleblower may be able to share in the recovery.

If you know of fraud against the government, contact our qui tam attorneys for a confidential review of the situation to assess the possibility of a qui tam lawsuit.

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False Claims Act Details

A False Claims Act lawsuit is often referred to as a "qui tam" lawsuit. "Qui tam" is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur, meaning "[he] who sues in this matter for the king as [well as] for himself." In other words, someone who brings a qui tam action is bringing the lawsuit on behalf of the government as well as him or herself. Many states also have their own versions of the False Claims Act.

The False Claims Act creates liability to the United States for "any person who knowingly presents . . . a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval [or] knowingly makes . . . a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim." 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(1).

A False Claims Act lawsuit begins with a whistleblower (called a "relator") bringing a qui tam action on behalf of the government. Anyone with knowledge of fraud against the government can be a relator. You do not need to be an employee of the person or entity engaged in the fraud in order to bring a qui tam lawsuit.

A defendant that is found to have committed fraud against the United States government is liable for triple damages (3 times the amount of damages the government sustained because of the fraudulent act), civil penalties, and attorneys’ fees and costs. The relator can recover between 15-30% of the amount recouped by the government.

Relators are protected from retaliation. The False Claims Act contains a strict anti-retaliation provision prohibiting a defendant from discharging, demoting, suspending, threatening, harassing, or in any other manner discriminating against an individual because he or she assisted with a False Claims Act investigation or action.

If you have knowledge of fraud against the government, contact our attorneys to discuss your options.

Examples of Potential False Claims Act Violations

Fraud against the government can occur in many different industries. The following are examples of the types of fraud that implicate the False Claims Act:

  • Healthcare and pharmaceutical fraud
  • Finance, banking, and mortgage fraud
  • Education fraud
  • Defense/military contractor fraud

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