Common Questions About False Claims Act And Qui Tam
If you are unsure about whether to report illicit actions by your employer, we encourage you to learn more about your rights and the legal measures available to you, with the experienced assistance of a knowledgeable attorney. On this page, we share some common questions and answers about qui tam and how it can help you protect your rights when reporting misconduct from a government vendor, contractor and others.
What does qui tam mean?
Qui tam refers to any legal action brought by a private citizen, also called a relator, on behalf of the government. The legal action consists of filing a lawsuit where the plaintiff “per se” is the government, not the relator, based on information or evidence that proves the private individual’s employers or contractors are defrauding the federal government.
What is the False Claims Act?
Also known as Lincoln law, it is the federal statute that enables private individuals not affiliated with the government to file lawsuits against businesses or individuals (qui tam lawsuits) who have submitted false claims to the government. A false claim may include fraudulent billing involving undelivered products, inexistent services, falsification of reports regarding the quality of a product and others.
Are there rewards for qui tam cases?
Yes. If the relator’s lawsuit is successful and the government decides to pursue the legal action imposed, they may be entitled to recover from 15% to 30% of the total amount recovered. However, if a whistleblower was involved in the illegal acts committed against the government, then the award may be reduced.
Are there damages in qui tam cases?
Yes, and they can be substantial. According to the False Claims Act, a guilty defendant should pay “treble damages,” which means three times the damages incurred. If the defendant cooperated with the investigation, the amount might reduce to twice the original damage.
Are qui tam cases confidential?
All qui tam actions are confidential or “under seal” for at least 60 days upon the filing of a suit. During this period, the government may investigate the charges and allegations of the lawsuit to determine whether to pursue or decline the action.
Does the government prosecute qui tam cases?
The government may decide to prosecute qui tam cases after the 60 days granted for investigation of allegations. In some cases, the government may decline to prosecute the case. Under such a scenario, the relator may decide to proceed with the lawsuit, and the government may later choose to take part in the process.