Discovering evidence that your workplace is committing fraud against the federal government may trouble you, and so you decide to take action. Filing a qui tam claim means you notify the government of possible wrongdoing. While the federal government may accept your claim and take action against the defrauding party, there is no guarantee that it will do so.
Both the U.S. Attorney General and your local U.S. Attorney will receive copies of your qui tam action. However, filing a qui tam is just the first step in the process. As FindLaw explains, the qui tam action will remain sealed from public view while the government makes its decision to take over the case.
How the government decides to intervene
In criminal cases, a prosecutor must decide whether there is enough evidence to proceed with charges against someone. A qui tam case functions in a similar manner. Once the government has received a qui tam claim, it must investigate the allegations and determine if there is a legitimate basis to pursue a case against the party defrauding the government.
The qui tam action remains under seal for a 60 day period while the government conducts its investigation. However, it is possible that the government will request more time from the courts on the grounds that good cause exists for them to have an extension.
If the government declines
The federal government may conclude it does not have enough evidence to initiate action against the defrauding party and will not intervene. If this happens, you will receive the right to move forward with the qui tam action yourself. However, this does not mean the government will not choose to involve itself in your case at some point in the future.
Providing evidence of fraud
The investigation stage is a crucial moment in a qui tam action, so if you do file a qui tam, be sure to gather as much evidence as you can regarding the fraud. The federal government will consider your findings as they determine whether to take action in your case, so whatever evidence you provide may make the difference as to whether the government accepts your qui tam action.