False Claims/Qui Tam Actions
The qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act allow employees (or any citizen) who obtain information regarding an individual or company making fraudulent or false claims to the federal government, or a state government, to bring lawsuits on behalf of the government against the companies committing the fraud. The person who initiates the lawsuit (called a "Relator" and/or "whistleblower") is entitled to between 15% and 30% of the damages recovered as a result of the lawsuit. These sums can be quite significant and many Relators have received seven and eight figure recoveries since the amendments to the False Claims Act in 1986. There are several types of fraud that have been prosecuted under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. The two most common types of fraud are healthcare fraud and defense contractor fraud. Other types of fraud in recent years have involved government construction projects (both state and federal); federal and state research programs and public funding/bonding programs.
Critical Information about Protecting Your Rights under the False Claims Act
- When selecting a law firm you need to insure that it is capable of advancing the significant costs necessary to prosecute a False Claims Act case. These cases are often complex and require a team of lawyers (as opposed to a sole practitioner) to prosecute them effectively. With 28 lawyers and a staff of nearly 50 para-professionals, our firm has the financial and personnel resources necessary to aggressively advance your case.
- Fast action is critical. You must be aware that a qui tam/false claims lawsuit can often be dismissed if it is not the first such lawsuit to make the allegations. If you are not the "first to file" you can be cut-out of any recovery. It is also possible to lose your rights under the False Claims Act if the information concerning the false claims becomes public before your case is filed. Generally, you are protected from the latter risk if you are the "original source" of the information.
- Do not discuss your case with anyone except your lawyer. There are two reasons for this: 1) it reduces the chance that a third-party will take your information and be the first to file on the particular fraud at issue; and 2) the whistleblower or Relator could be held in contempt or have their case dismissed if they discuss the case after it is placed under seal.