Qui Tam Actions
What is a Qui Tam Action?
A qui tam action is one brought by an informer charging that a false claim has been submitted to the government. Qui tam is a a provision of the Federal Civil False Claims Act which allows private citizens to bring lawsuits in the name of the U.S. Government alleging fraud by government contractors or others who use or receive government funds.
If any money is recovered, the citizen filing the lawsuit is awarded a minimum of fifteen percent and a maximum of thirty percent of the total amount recovered. However, if the person filing suit was somehow involved in the fraudulent activity, they may be subect to a lesser award depending on the circumstances and the nature of his or her involvement.
False claims that may be subject to a qui tam action typically involve claims that are presented to the Government for payment or approval. Some examples of false claims include:
- Submitting false records or statements to the Government,
- Overcharging (mischarging) the Government,
- Billing the Government for services not provided,
- False certification of entitlement to benefits, or
- Any other action which directly or indirectly leads to cheating, defrauding, or stealing from the Government.
Who Can File a Qui Tam Action?
Any individual or entity with information that a false claim has been submitted to the Government may commence an action on the Government's behalf. While employees are the most common party to file a qui tam action, others filing suit include :
- Former employees,
- Competitors and subcontractors,
- State and Local Governments,
- Federal employees,
- Public interest groups,
- Corporations, and
- Other private organizations.
Am I Protected against Job Retaliation by my Employer?
Yes. Under the False Claims Act you are protected by federal laws, known as "whistleblower" laws, for reporting fraud committed by your employer. These protective laws were enacted to allow you to blow the whistle on employers who make fraudulent claims against the Government without having to worry about job security or any other actions an employer might take against you in retaliation.
To prove that that you were retaliated against by your employer as a result of blowing the whistle against them, you must demonstrate:
- The activity you engaged in is protected by the False Claims Act (pursuing a qui tam action),
- Your employer knew about your qui tam action, and
- Your employer retaliated against you as a result of the action.
Should I Speak with an Attorney about my Qui Tam Action?
If you plan on filing a qui tam action on behalf of the Government, you may want to consult an experienced attorney first to help you analyze the strengths of your claim. Remember, filing a fraud claim against your employer is a very serious charge. However, if your claim is successful, you will be able to recover up to thirty percent of the money recovered.
If you have already reported fraud on the part of your employer and have had any actions taken against you in retaliation, you need to speak with an attorney immediately. This includes if you have been harassed by your employer or co-workers, discriminated against in the promoting process, terminated from your employment or forced to quit, or in any other way mistreated as a result of your coming forward with information. An experienced attorney will advise of your rights, and inform you of what remedies you may seek.
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Last Modified: 06-07-2012 04:34 PM PDT
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