Whistleblower lawsuits are also known as qui tam lawsuits, and are based on the False Claims Act. Whistleblower lawsuits enable ordinary persons to file suit on behalf of the government for actions that have defrauded the government through false claims. In return, the individual receives compensation for their assistance if the case is successful. The term “qui tam” is Latin shorthand that means “he who sues in this matter for the king as for himself”. A person who successfully brings a qui tam lawsuit to trial is able to recovery roughly 15-30% of the damages that are won in court. Such damages can represent a great deal of money. Federal and state governments have recovered more than $50 billion through false claims lawsuits.
There are a number of specific requirements for bringing a whistleblower action. Only the first person who reports a false claim is able to receive the reward. Many qui tam cases are brought by employees working for government contractors, medical providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, energy contractors, and the financial industry. The False Claims Act covers any federally funded program involving fraud, except for tax fraud.
If a defendant is found guilty of fraud and false claims, a court may order the defendant to pay up to three times the amount of money stolen from the government. The early filing documents are not disclosed publicly. Instead, the claim is investigated by the Justice Department while the papers are held “under seal”. The filings are intended to bring to light fraud on the government that would probably have gone undetected with the courage of whistleblowers. If you are aware of conduct that has defrauded the government, the Katz Firm will dedicate the time and attention necessary to determine whether you may have a viable False Claims Act case. Contact the Katz Firm for a free no-obligation case evaluation.