A False Claims Act or Qui Tam lawsuit is an action involving a whistleblower who reports fraud committed against the U.S. Government. In a False Claims Act case, the whistleblower essentially pursues a case on the government’s behalf against the individual or company committing fraud against the government. In exchange for doing so, the whistleblower or “relator” can be rewarded a percentage of any recovery awarded to the government.Typically the percentage that the relator receives is between 15% and 30%.
Types of Qui Tam Lawsuits
Some of the most prevalent False Claims Act cases involve health care fraud including hospitals, medical providers, clinics, or doctors over billing Medicare, Medicaid, or charging Medicare or Medicaid for services or exams that were never actually provided to patients to increase the provider’s bill.
Pharmaceutical companies have also been pursued under the False Claims Act for promoting prescription drugs not approved by the FDA.
Other Qui Tam and False Claims Act lawsuits have pursued housing and mortgage fraud, defense contracts/contractors, and manipulation of government programs such as federally insured loans and mortgages, transportation and research grants, school lunches, disaster relief and assistance and benefits for veterans.
Qui Tam and False Claims Act Lawsuits have different procedural steps then a typical lawsuit
Unlike most civil lawsuits, a whistleblower can’t simply initiate a False Claims Act case on his or her own. There are specific procedures that must be followed. First, a lawsuit must be filed confidentially under seal in U.S. District Court and the Department of Justice must be given at minimum 60 days to investigate the case. If the Government decides to pursue the case, they will work with the whistleblower and his/her lawyer to pursue the case. If the Department of Justice opts not to pursue the matter, than the whistleblower and his/her attorney can pursue the case on their own.
Whistleblower Job Protections
The False Claims Act has provisions which are designed to protect Qui Tam relators and whistleblowers from retaliation.
To learn more about a potential Qui Tam case and to schedule a free consultation with a Minneapolis Minnesota Whistleblower, call Kuhlman Law at (612) 349-2747.