Articles Posted in Qui Tam and Whistleblower

hospital roomThe whistleblower provisions of the federal False Claims Act, codified at U.S.C.A. § 3729-3733, are based on the premise that those on the inside often have the best information about illegal acts and fraud. The Act has been around for a long time, having been enacted during the Civil War to combat fraud by suppliers of goods purchased by the Union during the war.

The Act has been amended several times over its 150 years of existence. In its current form, it provides for the filing of qui tam actions – lawsuits by private individuals suing on behalf of the government. Individuals filing lawsuits are called “relators” and can be rewarded handsomely for their efforts, if the suit is successful, via a share of the recovery obtained on the government’s behalf.

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dollar signThe United States government is a huge entity that cannot possibly be aware of every instance of fraud of which it is a victim. To increase the odds in the government’s favor, Congress passed the False Claims Act, which contains a qui tam provision through which a whistleblower may initiate a lawsuit on the federal government’s behalf, seeking recovery for alleged fraud committed against the government. The federal government may or may not join in the suit at some point.

If the suit is ultimately successful, the whistleblower is awarded a percentage of the recovery. The possibility of this award serves as an incentive for those who are aware of potential fraud against the government to act on its behalf by filing suit under the False Claims Act. Some qui tam actions can be lengthy and complex, especially when large sums of money are at stake.

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