Wonder how the qui tam act rewards whistleblowing? Your bank account wants to know.
The qui tam act refers to provisions of the False Claims Act (FCA) that make it possible for individuals to sue corrupt companies on behalf of the U.S. government. Cases must meet specific requirements to go forward, but successful wins result in big rewards. According to the Department of Justice, qui tam rewards going to filers topped $393 million in 2017. These cases are the government’s best weapon against fraud in government spending.
If you’re reading up on qui tam lawsuits, you’re probably worried about a situation at work. While laws are in place to protect you from retaliation, it can still be enough of a concern to keep people from speaking out. Sharing in the financial awards or settlements of FCA cases helps lessen the burden whistleblowers bear. It also acts as encouragement for others who see a problem to report it to the authorities.
Qui Tam Rewards in the Millions
Successful qui tam litigants often walk away from the courtroom with serious cash. How? The FCA gives individuals the right to share in financial settlements and awards from cases they initiate. In 2017, FCA lawsuits recovered more than $3.7 billion of taxpayer dollars. Relators, individuals who initiate the suits, can take home up to 30 percent of the winnings.
In a recent record-breaking win against Walgreens, for instance, the courts awarded 21 percent of the $60 million settlement to the whistleblower. The case highlighted a prescription billing scheme by which the pharmacy chain bilked federal and state healthcare programs out of millions of dollars by inflating the costs of prescription drugs.
That said, cases can last a long time. It’s not unheard of for a lawsuit to take years. There’s no guarantee the government will help your case, however. In fact, the U.S. government can not only refuse to assist, but it can also request the courts dismiss your case.
You can still forge ahead on your own and be successful. In 2017, cases where the government chose not to intervene brought in $425.7 million, and relators took home $43.6 million of the proceeds. It’s easier when the government gets involved — and much easier when they don’t try to fight your case!
There’s more than money involved in these fraud cases though. Individuals don’t raise an FCA lawsuit for a simple cash grab. You can see the real benefits the FCA in its origins.
Qui Tam Cases Help You Make the World a Better Place
The FCA is sometimes referred to as Lincoln’s Law. Out 16th president signed it into law in 1863. Congress passed the act in response to Civil War-related fraud against the government. Unscrupulous vendors promised to give our troops warm, durable clothes, sturdy shoes, and healthy meals, but they rarely delivered.
Similarly, today’s worst offenders aren’t just taking the money they don’t deserve. They’re hurting people in the process. In some cases, they’re killing them. Three examples from recent years truly demonstrate the consequences faced by victims of government fraud.
In the first, a company called Second Chance Body Armor was selling defective bullet-proof vests to law enforcement agencies across the country. The ruling determined their guilt and the federal government reimbursed the law enforcement groups for the purchased vests. For years Second Armor knew their products weren’t safe but continued to mislead agencies. Eventually, the scam led to the death of a police officer killed when a bullet went through his protective gear.
In another case, a dental management company settled for $23.9 million for their role in a Medicaid scheme in which dentists performed unnecessary root canals on baby teeth. Parents who rely on Medicaid can’t often afford to get a second opinion. The result? Thousands of children went through the pain and risk of dental surgery without any reason.
The largest Medicare fraud case of the century involved a group of 30 retirement homes throughout Florida. The owner paid hospital workers to refer thousands of patients who did not need in-patient care. He subjected patients to unnecessary procedures and used narcotics to keep them from speaking. Authorities say he fraudulently billed Medicare over $1 billion for their care. Not only did he abuse thousands of elderly people, by robbing Medicare he prevented others from getting the help they needed.
It took employees working with those companies to come forward to keep people safe. The financial rewards were fringe benefits. The payoffs involved in being a whistleblower often focus on the financial, but in reality, the results can go far beyond the bank account. Finding the right lawyer can help you maximize the results.
Find out more about the qui tam act and all of its benefits by contacting Bothwell Law Group online.