Qui Tam and Whistleblower Lawsuits
Qui Tam and the False Claims Act
Qui tam lawsuits are a form of civil lawsuit whistleblowers file under the False Claims Act. This act is a federal law that rewards whistleblowers if their qui tam case(s) recover funds for the government. For example, there may be a situation where there is Medicare and Medicaid fraud happening when Medicare and Medicaid is being charged for services not performed or needed.
The False Claims Act provides a whistleblower the opportunity to sue an individual or business that is defrauding the government and recover stolen funds on behalf of the United States Government. Qui tam lawsuits are filed under seal (for 60 days with possible extension) in order for the government (Justice Department) to investigate the allegations being brought forth by the qui tam lawsuit. When a complaint is filed under seal only the government and the court will be aware that a suit has been filed. The government will have the opportunity to join the qui tam case and the whistleblower will have the opportunity to pursue individually if they wish. A person bringing the action is referred to as a “relator.”
Qui Tam Whistleblower Lawsuit: What is an expected recovery?
The government can collect up to three times the amount that was defrauded. There also may be fines and abilities of $5,500 to $11,000 per false claim. The whistleblower (relator) collects a percentage amount that varies between 15% and 30% of the total recovery.
For example, in a recent Medicare Fraud case against a Florida Health Care provider the settlement amount was $85 million. Of that amount, the whistleblower received 24.5%, or $20,825,000. The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Case No. 6:09-cv-1002-Orl-31TBS.
Examples of Qui Tam Lawsuits
- Improper Medicare/Medicaid billing.
- Knowingly using false records or statements to get a claim paid.
- Conspiring with others to get a fraudulent claim paid.
- Using records or statement to pay a lesser amount owed to the federal government.
Whistleblowers are protected but there are certain steps that need to be taken. Contact our office if your employer or former employer is involved in defrauding the federal government. We understand this situation is difficult for you; we are here to guide you through the process and make this easier on you.