Do you suspect fraud committed against the government or a government program like Medicare? Are you looking for a way to take action or better, get compensated for your help? The False Claims Act, also known as the qui tam provision, provides a means of filing a lawsuit on behalf of the government and potentially collecting a portion of the recovered funds. In this blog post, we will discuss how you can use the qui tam provision to fight fraud and make a difference in your community.
What Is the Qui Tam Provision?
The qui tam provision is a special section of the False Claims Act that permits a private individual or entity to file a lawsuit on behalf of the federal government. This provision is also sometimes known as the “whistleblower” provision because it allows individuals to sue their employers if they have evidence of fraud against the federal government.
When a qui tam lawsuit is filed, the federal government has the right to intervene and take over the case. The whistleblower can continue to be a party to the case and potentially receive a portion of any settlement or judgment in the case.
The purpose of the qui tam provision is to help protect taxpayers from fraud, as whistleblowers can help detect fraudulent activities that might otherwise go undetected. The provision incentivizes citizens to come forward and blow the whistle on any wrongful activity that is taking place and ensure that those involved are held accountable for their actions.
Who Can File a Qui Tam Lawsuit?
The qui tam provision allows any individual or organization to file a lawsuit on behalf of the government to fight fraud. This means that whistleblowers do not need to be employees of the accused company or have any other special relationship with the alleged fraudster. The person filing the qui tam suit is called the relator.
The False Claims Act provides protections for whistleblowers who come forward with information on fraud against the government. Under the act, anyone is allowed to file a qui tam lawsuit as long as they have evidence of fraud. This includes current and former employees, contractors, vendors, patients, competitors, and private citizens.
There are also restrictions on who can file a qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act. For instance, if someone has already reported the fraud to a federal or state agency, such as the Department of Justice, and the government has already taken action on the complaint, then that person may not be allowed to file a qui tam lawsuit. Additionally, if the relator was involved in the fraud or received a financial reward from the alleged fraudulent activity, then they may not be able to file a qui tam suit.
In addition to this, qui tam lawsuits are subject to a “first-to-file” rule. This means that if someone else has already reported the same fraud to the government, then the relator may not be allowed to proceed with their own case.
Overall, anyone who has evidence of fraud against the government is allowed to file a qui tam lawsuit. However, there are some restrictions and conditions that should be taken into consideration before filing a qui tam suit.
What Types of Fraud Are Covered Under the Qui Tam Provision?
The Qui Tam provision of the False Claims Act (FCA) makes it possible for private citizens to report and pursue the fraudulent activity in federal government contracting. Specifically, it allows individuals to file a lawsuit on behalf of the government when they believe that a company or individual has submitted false or fraudulent claims for payment or approval to the federal government.
The types of fraud that are covered under the Qui Tam provision include:
• Overbilling: When a company deliberately bills the government more than the amount they are due for services rendered or supplies provided.
• False Statements: When a company deliberately provides false or misleading information to the government when submitting a claim.
• Concealment of Material Facts: When a company deliberately hides important facts related to a claim to gain a financial advantage from the government.
• Submitting Unauthorized Claims: When a company submits claims for services or products not provided to the government.
• Kickbacks: When a company gives or receives money, gifts, favors, or anything else of value in exchange for an act relating to a government contract.
These are just some of the types of fraud that can be covered under the Qui Tam provision of the False Claims Act. By filing a qui tam lawsuit, whistleblowers can help protect taxpayer dollars and hold fraudsters accountable for their actions.
What Are the Procedures for Filing a Qui Tam Lawsuit?
Filing a qui tam lawsuit can be a complicated process, so it is important to understand the steps involved. To begin, a whistleblower must file a complaint with the Department of Justice (DOJ). The complaint must be filed under seal, which means that it is kept confidential and not available for public view. Along with the complaint, the whistleblower must also provide evidence that demonstrates a violation of the False Claims Act.
Once the DOJ receives the complaint, it will investigate the allegations to determine if there is sufficient evidence to pursue legal action. If the DOJ finds the case is worth pursuing, they will intervene in the lawsuit and take over responsibility for prosecuting the case. If the DOJ does not intervene in the lawsuit, the whistleblower may choose to pursue the case independently.
If the DOJ chooses to prosecute, they will present the case before a court. During this process, both sides will argue their case in an adversarial hearing. The court may then decide whether or not to grant relief to the whistleblower based on their findings.
Whistleblowers who successfully prove their case are eligible to receive a percentage of any funds that are recovered from the fraudulent party. This percentage varies depending on how much assistance the whistleblower provided and whether or not the DOJ chose to intervene in the case.
In addition to possible monetary rewards, qui tam lawsuits also help protect whistleblowers from retaliation by employers who may be guilty of fraud. Whistleblowers who face any kind of discrimination or retribution from their employers are entitled to seek legal recourse.
It is important to keep in mind that qui tam lawsuits are complicated and time-consuming, and require detailed knowledge of the False Claims Act. As such, it is highly recommended that whistleblowers seek legal advice from experienced attorneys when considering filing a qui tam lawsuit.
What Are the Possible Rewards for Whistleblowers?
The Qui Tam provision offers a significant incentive for whistleblowers to come forward with evidence of fraud and abuse. According to the False Claims Act, whistleblowers are entitled to receive between 15 and 30 percent of any recovery made as a result of their qui tam lawsuit. The amount of reward awarded to whistleblowers will depend on a variety of factors, including the strength of the case and the whistleblower’s level of cooperation.