Qui Tam Statute of the False Claims Act
Washington, DC Whistleblower Attorney
The False Claims Act (31 U.S.C § 3729 - 3733), also known as the "Lincoln
Law," the "Informer's Act," or the "Qui Tam Statute,"
is a much older federal law than most people realize. Congress first passed
the False Claims Act during the Civil War in 1863 in an attempt to stop
dishonest contractors from selling the Union Army faulty supplies and
provisions. The most significant aspect of the False Claims Act is its
"qui tam" provision, which allows United States citizens to
sue on behalf of the government. If a qui tam lawsuit is successful, the
citizen who initiated it - called the "relator" or "whistleblower"
- is entitled to receive a percentage of the recovered taxpayer funds.
By offering these incentives and
cash awards, the government's whistleblower program has been able to recover billions
of taxpayer dollars to date.
Any person or entity that avoids or improperly receives payment to the
government can be held liable in a qui tam lawsuit. The False Claims Act
is designed to encourage private parties with unique information about
fraud to disclose it, aiding the government in identifying and punishing
fraudulent actions that otherwise go unnoticed. Once a
whistleblower action has been brought forward, the government has the opportunity to
participate in the action.
Becoming a Whistleblower
If you have knowledge of fraud being committed to steal taxpayer funds,
you can file a qui tam action and become a relator / whistleblower. Most
whistleblowers report fraud committed by their employer, since this is
the type of fraud they are knowledgeable about; however, anyone with knowledge
of fraud committed against the government can become a whistleblower.
In the past, a fraudulent party's competitors, patients, and even
employees' relatives have all filed successful qui tam claims.
The False Claims Act affords significant protection to whistleblowers who
otherwise might be vulnerable to retaliation from the wrongdoer, such
as an employer. When you initiate a qui tam action, your identity will
be under seal (confidential) while the government is investigating your
claim. If the fraudulent party takes any action to terminate, demote,
discriminate, or harass you based on your status as a whistleblower, you
can sue them for damages; however, in order to sue for retaliation, you
need to be able to prove that your employer was aware of your involvement
in a qui tam action at the time of the retaliation.
Recent Amendments to the False Claims Act
In 2011, federal regulators passed a new set of rules making it easier,
and possibly more lucrative, for whistleblowers to report suspicions of
fraud. Under these new provisions, if an individual provides the Securities
and Exchange Commission (SEC) with information that leads to a recovery
of a million dollars or more, that individual could be paid up to 30%
of the monetary sanctions. Tips that are submitted anonymously through
an attorney will still be eligible for an award.
If you are aware of a fraudulent payment claim that has been made by your
employer or another party, please
contact a Washington, DC whistleblower attorney from Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. today for a free case
evaluation. We can help you learn more about qui tam lawsuits and can
help you investigate the situation without compromising the case or your
own legal status.