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Qui Tam: Frequently Asked Questions


What is qui tam?

Qui tam is a provision of the Federal False Claims Act that allows private citizens, also known as whistleblowers, to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the government against persons who use government funds in a fraudulent way.

What is the False Claims Act?

The Federal False Claims Act was originally enacted (in 1863) to fight defense contractor fraud, but it is also applicable to all federal programs and federal contractors.

What is a whistleblower?

A whistleblower is a person who informs the government of fraudulent action by a company or corporation that is working under contract with a government agency. Whistleblowers can be employees of the company or agency that is defrauding the government, former employees of the company or agency, competitors or subcontractors, state and local governments, federal employees, public interest groups, corporations, and private citizens.

What are the most common types of qui tam cases?

There are several types of qui tam cases that can be filed. These include mischarging, product and service substitution, false negotiation or defective pricing, and false certification of entitlement for benefits. Although more than half of all qui tam recoveries have involved healthcare fraud, successful qui tam lawsuits have been filed against defense contractors and other companies that work with government agencies such as NASA and Health and Human Services (HHS).

Are whistleblowers protected from retaliatory action?

The whistleblower protection clause in the 1986 amendment to the False Claims Act protects the whistleblower from harassment, demotion, and wrongful termination. In addition, the whistleblower protection extends to anyone who investigates, testifies, initiates, or assists in a qui tam lawsuit.

Are whistleblowers compensated for filing a qui tam lawsuit?

Qui tam allows the whistleblower who filed the suit to receive a portion of any funds that are recovered by the qui tam lawsuit.

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