If you think you have discovered your employer has been committing fraud against the federal government, you may have a whistleblower case. Referred to as qui tam lawsuits, they are authorized under the False Claims Act.
This provides a viable way for ordinary citizens to bring an action against perpetrators of fraud against the government. The False Claims Act also provides the whistleblower protection from retaliation. If the government chooses to intervene, there is potential for a large reward for you if you are the relator, the term for the one who brings the legal action.
Not every situation that appears a company or person has committed fraud has the necessary elements to become a qui tam lawsuit. There are some important factors for you to consider in determining whether or not you have a case.
Acts That May Give Rise to Qui Tam Lawsuits
The False Claims Act defines types of violations that may give rise to qui tam lawsuits.
- Knowingly presenting false or fraudulent claims for payment to the government.
- Submitting a false record to the federal government in order to have a claim paid.
- Knowingly being part of a conspiracy to ask the government to pay false claims.
- Submitting a knowingly false statement or record to the government in order to avoid an obligation to transmit funds or property to it.
If you are aware of any of the activities, you may be on your way to filing a qui tam action. You still have some questions to answer for yourself before you pursue litigation.
Factors to Consider Before Filing your Qui Tam Action
A qui tam attorney will help you find your way through the false claims jungle. But, some questions you should answer before contacting legal counsel include:
- Has there really been fraud? Do not confuse mismanagement, waste or a contractual dispute with fraud.
- What evidence do you have to support your claim? This is a touchy area. You need to have more than just your word against the company that you claim is acting fraudulently. Do you have emails? Work logs? Any company records that are not proprietary? There is a fine line between documentation that you obtained legally and company records that are confidential and to which you do not have legal access.
- Is this the type of action where you believe the government will intervene? Without government intervention, many cases are dismissed by courts on the theory that if the government will not intervene, the case may not have merit.
There are many other requirements and nuances involved in filing a qui tam lawsuit. An experienced qui tam lawyer will evaluate your information and help you know if you have a case. Contact us today. We would be happy to help you determine whether you’ve got a case.