The Bothwell Law Group knows that most people don’t understand “lawyer-speak,” so if you’re confused about False Claims qui tam law, allow an experienced qui tam attorney clear it up and clarify a few terms.
The False Claims Act encourages whistleblowers to come forward with information of misuse of federal, state, and local funds by offering a percentage of whatever is recovered in the False Claims Act lawsuit to the whistleblower. It also offers protection from retaliatory action. The False Claims Act was created during the Civil War and is often referred to as Lincoln’s law. Proponents believed that offering a financial reward was the best way to encourage whistleblowers to take the risk to come forward.
Amended in 1986, the qui tam statute was strengthened, allowing private citizens to sue the wrongdoers on behalf of the federal government. Proponents felt that the ability to act when the Government might not provided whistleblowers with an incentive to see the matter through to the end. Those who bring such False Claims Act lawsuits are entitled to a percentage (capped at 30%) of the damages recovered. Damages are always trebled and penalties are also automatically added. Legal fees and costs are also recoverable in successful lawsuits.
Common Types of Government Fraud:
- Medicare and Medicaid Fraud
- Defense Contracting
- Healthcare Fraud
- Unreturned Overpayments
- Stark and Kickback Violation
Whistleblowers, those who report individual or business misuse of Government funds, do so at some risk. The False Claims Act protects whistleblowers from job retaliation and rewards them for exposing the fraudulent use of Government funds. The False Claims Act was amended in 1986, strengthening a qui tam statute, which allows an ordinary citizen (known as a “relator”) to file the lawsuit on the Government’s behalf, giving them a percentage of the recovered funds (from 15%-30%). Potential whistleblowers in any state in the country should choose a False Claims Act litigation lawyer like Mike Bothwell with a solid background of successful recovery for whistleblowers from Washington State to Florida and from New York to California.
Some forms of fraud, such as Medicare Fraud and Defense Contractor Fraud, are litigated in slightly different ways. Consult with a whistleblower lawyer at the Bothwell Law Group to determine how best to approach your individual case.
Need Advice? Let Us Guide Your Case to Successful, Maximum Dollar Recovery
There are restrictions. If an individual decides to proceed without benefit of legal counsel, he or she may not bring a qui tam action. Qui Tam lawyers at the Bothwell Law Group advise whistleblowing clients and draw on a skilled team of experts in the Government Fraud field to guide each case to a successful, maximum dollar recovery. Our firm focuses exclusively on whistleblower litigation/qui tam cases.
Once a lawsuit is filed, it is placed “under seal” by a Federal Judge and cannot be discussed until the government has decided whether or not to intervene (join) in the lawsuit. Speaking of a fraud case while under seal, even hinting at the possibility of a lawsuit, may lead to disqualification and the forfeiture of any reward.
The seal is lifted once the government decides whether or not to join the suit. The Bothwell Law Group’s qui tam litigation attorneys have a solid history of working in partnership with the Government, knowing that such actions have a greater likelihood of successful recovery.
Choose an attorney who is well respected in the field of litigating/negotiating for the highest possible settlements for individuals. Our exclusive focus on False Claims Act qui tam representation ensures that we will put all our resources and energy in your case. Contact a Whistleblower Attorney at the Bothwell Law Group and protect your whistleblower rights and interests today.
1. What is qui tam?
Qui tam is a Latin term that means “he who sues for the king as well as for himself.” In legal terms, it refers to a provision within the False Claims Act (FCA) and similar statutes that allows private individuals, known as “relators,” to file lawsuits on behalf of the Government when fraud has been committed against Government programs or contracts.
2. What is the False Claims Act (FCA)?
The False Claims Act is a federal law enacted to combat fraud against the Government. It imposes liability on individuals or entities that submit false claims for payment to government programs. The FCA includes a qui tam provision, which enables private individuals to sue on behalf of the Government and share in any recovered funds.
3. Who can file a qui tam lawsuit?
A qui tam lawsuit can be filed by an individual, often referred to as a “whistleblower” or “relator,” who has knowledge of fraudulent activities committed against government programs or contracts. The whistleblower may be an employee, contractor, or any other individual with relevant information about the fraud.
4. What types of fraud can be the basis of a qui tam lawsuit?
Qui tam lawsuits can be brought for various types of fraud, including healthcare fraud, Medicare or Medicaid fraud, procurement fraud, defense contractor fraud, and more. Any program that provides Government money is subject to the False Claims Act. Examples include submitting false Medicare or Medicaid claims, providing substandard goods or services to the government, or misrepresenting information to secure government contracts.
5. What is the role of the government in qui tam cases?
In qui tam cases, the Government has the option to intervene and take over the lawsuit. If the Government intervenes, it becomes the primary party in the case. If the Government chooses not to intervene, the whistleblower can continue the lawsuit on their own.
6. What are the potential rewards for whistleblowers?
Whistleblowers who successfully bring a qui tam lawsuit and recover funds for the Government can be rewarded with a percentage of the recovered amount. This reward ranges from 15% to 30% of the total recovery, depending on various factors.
7. Are qui tam cases confidential?
Qui tam cases are filed under seal, meaning they are kept confidential while the Government investigates the allegations. This allows the Government to gather evidence and decide whether to intervene without alerting the alleged wrongdoer.
8. Can whistleblowers face retaliation?
The False Claims Act includes provisions that protect whistleblowers from retaliation by their employers. If a whistleblower faces adverse employment actions as a result of their reporting or just trying to get the company to follow the law, they may have legal remedies available.
9. Can state governments have qui tam provisions?
Many states have their own False Claims Acts with qui tam provisions that apply to fraud committed against state government programs. These laws are often modeled after the federal False Claims Act and provide similar protections and incentives for whistleblowers.
10. How long do I have to file a qui tam lawsuit?
Qui tam lawsuits must be filed within a certain period, known as the statute of limitations. The timeline varies depending on the specific circumstances of each case. Consulting with an attorney experienced in qui tam cases can help determine the appropriate timeframe for filing.