Qui tam lawsuits are a type of legal action where individuals with insider information regarding fraud against the government bring a lawsuit on behalf of the government. These types of claims were created by the False Claims Act, a federal law that was enacted in response to rampant fraud in government contracts during the Civil War. The individuals who file qui tam claims generally have some insider information regarding the fraud, and are referred to informally as “whistleblowers.” In order to incentivize whistleblowers to come forward, the False Claims Act allows them to share in any recovery which is awarded. In addition, the False Claims Act prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who file or consider filing a qui tam action. Anyone who believes that they may have information that supports a qui tam claim should talk to a Clearwater qui tam attorney as soon as possible.
Qui tam lawsuits are filed “under seal,” meaning that the existence of the action is kept secret, even from the person or party who is the subject of the lawsuit. The Department of Justice (DOJ) then investigates the claim in order to determine whether evidence of fraud exists. The government then will either decide to intervene in the case or to not pursue the case any further. While whistleblowers can decide to pursue qui tam actions even if the government does not join, these actions have a much lower success rate than actions in which the government does decide to intervene. If a qui tam lawsuit is successful, the amount of compensation that a whistleblower will receive depends on a variety of factors, including whether the government chose to intervene and the amount of whistleblower involvement. Qui tam actions arise in a variety of contexts, including the following:
Florida also has its own False Claims Act that authorizes similar suits against parties who defraud the state of Florida. Anyone with knowledge of fraudulent conduct on the part of a government contractor should discuss their case with a qui tam attorney as soon as possible.
Whistleblowers that expose fraud against the government may be eligible to receive significant financial compensation. To schedule a free consultation with one of the attorneys of the Dolman Law Group, call our office today at (727) 451-6900.