What Is A Whistleblower, or Qui Tam, Lawsuit?
A whistleblower lawsuit is where a person, who believes that a company has committed fraud against the government, brings a lawsuit against that company to recover the government’s money. Basically, if a private individual believes a company is cheating the government, the individual “blows the whistle” to expose the illegal acts.
Qui tam is a legal term that attorneys sometimes use to refer to whistleblower cases. Qui tam and whistleblower mean the same thing.
The federal government contracts with thousands of businesses, resulting in billions of dollars changing hands. Unfortunately, these financial transactions open the door of opportunity for dishonest people to cheat the government out of money. The law provides a way for honest citizens to assist the government and be rewarded for their honest actions with 15 to 30 percent of any money recovered from a successful lawsuit. Additionally, the law prevents a dishonest company from firing, harassing or retaliating against the person who blew the whistle. If the dishonest company does cause problems for the honest employee, the law allows the honest employee to collect additional money to compensate for lost wages, attorney fees and litigation costs.
What Are Some Examples Of Fraudulent Activities
Dishonest medical facilities might:
- Charge the government for medical tests that were not performed
- Perform unnecessary tests or procedures and then bill the government
- Bill the government for supplies that were not ordered
- Charge the government for supplies that were purchased but not used for their intended purpose to treat patients
- Perform double billing, or charging for the same service more than once
Other businesses might:
- Commit forgery
- Fail to report over-payment
- Win government contracts with bribes or kickbacks
- Falsify data required to obtain a contract, such as the military status of employees
Why Should I Care About Somebody Else Cheating The Government?
If you learn that a business is cheating the government and you do not do anything about it, you could be considered guilty by omission. Remaining quiet and not blowing the whistle could be as bad as actively participating. Furthermore, in the long run, the dishonest behavior increases costs to run our government.
What Should I Do If I Know About Fraud Against The Government?
A whistleblower situation is definitely one you do not want to tackle on your own. You should work with lawyers who know the laws and know how to protect you. Contact Carr & Carr Attorneys in confidence to learn what you can do to right this wrong. Our lawyers in Oklahoma City and Tulsa can assist you if you live in Oklahoma and our Northwest Arkansas injury attorneys can assist you if you live near Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers or Bentonville or anywhere in Arkansas. Additionally, we can help you no matter where in the U.S. you live.
History Of Qui Tam
The term qui tam comes from a Latin phrase: Qui tam pro domino rege quam pro si ipso in hac parte sequitur.” This means “He who sues on behalf of the king, as well as for himself.” Consider it taking care of your government while taking care of yourself.
In 1863, Abraham Lincoln enacted the qui tam statute, commonly known as The False Claims Act. This legislation protected the government from dishonest suppliers who were providing the government with faulty equipment during the civil war.
In 1986, the law was changed to make it easier for a private citizen to bring a lawsuit with the help of an experienced lawyer. Additionally, the changes made it more financially rewarding to the individual.