Let’s talk about how qui tam cases and defense contractors can turn out.
If you suspect fraud, it’s time to consider how qui tam cases and defense contractors mix. This is especially true when you have information about a contractor misusing funds, but you may not be sure what to do. You might worry about the repercussions that you could experience for speaking up. If you’ve watched others suffer consequences for calling out others at work, you may be especially nervous. If you have a working relationship with the contractor, you may worry about losing their services.
Know that you are not alone. Many people have struggled with whether to blow the whistle on bad behavior throughout the history of the United States. While the decision to speak up is a personal one, you could be safeguarding countless lives by doing so. Let’s talk about the laws that protect you from negative repercussions for initiating qui tam cases against defense contractors.
What Are Qui Tam Laws?
Qui tam means “who as well,” or the filing of a lawsuit for the government as well as the plaintiff. Further, qui tam laws provide legal protection and enable private citizens to pursue legal action on behalf of the United States government. Qui tam laws work to push private citizens to speak up when they notice fraud. In 1863 the government created qui tam laws during the Civil War when the government was losing millions due to misrepresented claims about war equipment. The fraudulent claims put the safety of soldiers at stake. Something had to happen to protect the people who knew about the false claims. These private citizens needed to feel safe enough to speak up.
What Exactly Is a Whistleblower?
We’ve all heard the term before, but what exactly does it mean to be the one who sounds the alarm on fraudulent activity? The common name for a person who is working within the qui tam system is whistleblower. You may also hear them referred to as relators.
One of the ways qui tam laws protect whistleblowers from repercussions is by keeping their identities secret. The law provides incentives for citizens to take action when they notice wrong-doing. As a whistleblower, you can receive some of the funds recovered by the government based on the information that you provide. As a government employee, you already know that the misuse of government funds is rampant. When you report, you’re protecting valuable tax dollars.
Two Types of Qui Tam Cases
There are two categories of qui tam cases when it comes to defense contractors. The first happens when the contractor provides the government with false information about the service or product they produce. This can be misrepresenting the product delivered. This can also mean falsifying claims about testing that prove the efficacy of the product.
The second happens when the contractor mischarges the government for services rendered. This can mean overcharging, that the service was not up to par, or that the contractor overstated the number of hours worked.
When a company misrepresents the product they provide to the military, they could be putting the lives of troops at risk. When they misrepresent testing that on a product, they could be endangering people. Whistleblowing is not only an obligation for someone who witnesses the fraud, but it’s also an opportunity to save lives. In one of the most famous qui tam cases, a government contractor misrepresented testing done on military helicopters. Because of this, a helicopter crashed over the Saudi Arabian desert. The ensuing lawsuit enabled the United States government to recover the entire cost of the aircraft.
Qui Tam Cases and Defense Contractors: Rewards and Protection
The U.S. government recognizes that doing the right thing in these cases isn’t always easy. When the government recovers funds in a qui tam lawsuit, a percentage of that money goes to the whistleblower. The amount that you receive after the case closes will depend on the amount of money recouped by the government. You are also entitled to protection from potential repercussions enacted by your employer.
Though qui tam laws are there to keep you safe, some employers may still attempt to take action against you for filing. The laws put in place to protect whistleblowers ensure that you can regain anything you lost while exposing the wrongdoings of contractors. Reinstatement if you lost your job, double back pay of lost wages, and compensation for attorney’s fees and other legal costs incurred are possible with Qui Tam. It’s essential that you work with a lawyer who understands how these laws work, protecting you from mistreatment for doing the right thing.
Protect Yourself- Call Us
If you’re ready to look into qui tam cases and defense contractors, work with an attorney who has experience with this type of case. Don’t try to do this alone – you need legal protection. Contact the skilled attorneys with extensive experience with qui tam cases at Bothwell Law Group today.