Qui Tam and the False Claims Act: Know Your Rights as a Whistleblower
What is the False Claims Act, and how are whistleblowers protected under its provisions? Below, the skilled legal counsel at Peter Angelos P.C. provides an explanation of the False Claims Act and your rights as a whistleblower under qui tam.
The False Claims Act Holds Entities Accountable for Committing Fraud Against the Government
One of the most significant whistleblower laws in the United States, The False Claims Act, has origins that date as far back as the mid-1800s. It is a federal law that prohibits any individual or organization from committing fraud against the United States government. While allegations under the False Claims Act have affected virtually every industry, the most common claims have involved military false claims, government spending program fraud such as Medicaid fraud, health care fraud, procurement fraud and pharmaceutical fraud. The U.S. government has recovered more than $62 billion under the False Claims Act since 1987, and over $3 billion in Fiscal Year 2019.
Qui Tam is a Provision Within the False Claims Act that Gives Whistleblowers the Power to Come Forward
The False Claims Act is comprehensive and can even be applied outside of the United States, with qui tam being just one provision of the extensive act. Qui tam is what allows a private organization or individual to file claims against an entity on behalf of the United States government for fraudulent or negligent activity costing the government money.
Under the False Claims Act, citizens who choose to report fraudulent activity committed by a large corporate entity may be rewarded with legal protection and a financial reward, pending a successful prosecution and outcome. In qui tam cases, the individual who sues on behalf of the government is likely not the victim of the reprehensible crimes committed by the defendant—however, they may be a witness to the fraudulent and negligent activity or hold confidential knowledge regarding the fraud being committed that makes them a valuable whistleblower.
Whistleblowers are Encouraged to Make a Claim
Whistleblowers, often called relators, benefit from special protections under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act. Specifically, whistleblowers hold valuable information on fraudulent activity that can greatly aid the U.S. government in holding those entities liable. Additionally, whistleblowers are working in the interest of their nation and thus can be rewarded, on average, 15-30% of the damages recovered in a successful outcome. Over $2.1 billion of the over $3 billion dollars in settlements under the False Claims Act were filed under the qui tam provision, and the government paid out over $265 million to individuals who exposed entities defrauding the government. This demonstrates the significance of whistleblowers to the cause of exposing fraudulent activity and preserving the integrity of our nation.
Whistleblowers Need Skilled Legal Counsel on Their Side—Call Peter Angelos P.C. Today
Whistleblowers hold an important role in exposing enterprises and individuals attempting to lie to and steal from the U.S. government, but it is important they have a skilled legal team on their side to ensure they have a legitimate case that yields the greatest results. To learn more about the False Claims Act and the qui tam provision, click here. If you believe you hold valuable knowledge on fraudulent corporate activity that qualifies you to be a whistleblower, contact the experienced qui tam attorneys at Peter Angelos P.C. today for a free consultation.