Qui tam is a provision of the Federal Civil False Claims Act that permits citizens, on behalf of the U.S. government, to file suit against any individual or corporation that fraudulently uses government funds. Qui tam entitles the private citizen who filed suit - called a whistleblower - to a share of whatever funds are recovered.
Almost anyone can be a whistleblower, including employees or executives of the corporation who is committing the fraud, subcontractors, private citizens, public interest groups, and government employees. If you have a whistleblower case, a qui tam lawyer can help you defend your rights. Whistleblowers are protected under the Federal Civil Claims Act. Contact a qui tam attorney in your area for a review of your case.
The Federal Civil Claims Act
The Federal False Claims Act was originally passed in 1863 to combat defense contractors, but today it also applies to government agencies, contractors, and programs. Although the act originally allowed private citizens to file qui tam suits, citizens often failed to do so because they would have had to finance the cases themselves. However, after several revisions, the act now protects whistleblowers from retaliation, harassment, and wrongful termination, imposes higher fines and penalties on the party in question, helps provide finances for the cases, and provides whistleblowers a cut of the award.
A whistleblower informs the government or other authorities that one of the following questionable acts is being committed: threatening of public health or safety, gross mismanagement, and abuse of authority. Essentially, the whistleblower is "blowing the whistle" on those who are committing these crimes.
Until a 1986 amendment, known as the Whistleblower Act, was added to the Federal False Claims Act, whistleblowers received as little as 10 percent of a suit's total reward. But today, whistleblowers receive 15 to 25 percent of rewards from cases that are accepted by the Department of Justice. If the Department of Justice does not go forward with a case, a whistleblower can go forward on his own, in some cases with the assistance of a qui tam attorney; if he wins, he will receive 25 to 30 percent of the entire reward. However, in either case, if a judge decides that the media or the government brought forth more critical information than the whistleblower, he may reduce the whistleblower's reward to less than the amendment calls for. A qui tam lawyer can help you understand the specifics of your case.
Contact Qui Tam Lawyers
If you know of a person or company using government funds in an inappropriate way, you'll want to contact an experienced qui tam attorney to handle your lawsuit. A qui tam lawyer can help ensure the best possible result as well as protect you from retaliation by your employer.