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False Claims Act and Qui Tam Lawsuits

Do you have information or evidence of a company or individual committing financial fraud against the government? As a whistleblower, you have the right to report such activity without fear of retribution, and you may be entitled to a portion of the compensation recovered under the federal False Claims Act.

At Lichtenstein Law Group, our dedicated legal team has extensive experience helping whistleblowers build successful cases for prosecution under the False Claims Act (FCA), also known as “qui tam” claims. With almost 100 years of combined legal experience, our knowledgeable litigators are uniquely qualified to advise clients on these complicated claims. We understand both the criminal and civil side of these types of allegations, and we know what federal prosecutors are looking for when they decide whether to pursue your FCA case.

Schedule a free consultation now to learn about your rights as a whistleblower. Our respected False Claims Act attorneys can review the information you have collected and discussed all your options for moving forward with a claim. It is crucial that you come forward as soon as possible, though, because if someone else files a claim related to the illegal activity before you, you will lose your right to compensation.

How Our Lawyers Can Help with Your Whistleblower Claim

When you have evidence that the government is being defrauded, you should seek advice from a qualified attorney immediately. Under the False Claims Act, also known as the Lincoln Law because it originated with President Lincoln, private citizens can file whistleblower lawsuits to recover taxpayer money, as well as compensation for the role they played in uncovering the fraudulent claims. However, the process for filing a whistleblower complaint is complex, and you will need an experienced attorney to protect your rights throughout the process.

You can trust the highly respected litigation team at Lichtenstein Law Group to:

  • Thoroughly investigate your whistleblower claim and document the evidence. Our knowledgeable qui tam lawyers will launch an investigation based on the information you provide. We will gather all documentation related to your claim and prepare a legal analysis to present to the Department of Justice.
  • Craft a persuasive argument for the government to join your claim. Our attorneys will lay out a strong case as to why the Department of Justice should join your claim. The government joins only about 25 percent of False Claims Act cases. However, more than 90 percent of those cases are settled or won.
  • Maximize the value of the information you share. In qui tam cases, the person coming forward with information may receive 15 to 30 percent of the amount recovered by the government. The percentage you may receive depends on how crucial the information you provided is to the case. Our attorneys will make it clear how essential your cooperation is to the claim.

When you schedule an initial consultation with our team, we will explain the process for filing a whistleblower lawsuit in detail and go over the next steps for your claim. We can also answer any questions you may have about compensation and protection from retaliation. Contact us now to set up a free consultation.  

What Is a Qui Tam Lawsuit?

When a company or individual knowingly defrauds the government, any everyday citizen with firsthand knowledge of the situation can file a lawsuit on behalf of the government and themselves. This is known as a “qui tam” action.

Some of the common types of qui tam lawsuits, known as whistleblower lawsuits, involve:

  • Federal health care fraud (such as Medicare and Medicaid fraud)
  • Construction procurement contract fraud
  • Fraud involving small business grants
  • Federal mortgage fraud
  • Defense contract fraud

In a majority of cases, employees of the companies committing fraud are the ones who come forward with information leading to a qui tam lawsuit. However, anyone who has information about these types of fraudulent activities can file a claim ─ and be eligible for compensation. This includes competitors, subcontractors, customers, and patients. The person who files the lawsuit is called the “relator.”

How Does a Whistleblower Claim Work?

Pursuing a whistleblower lawsuit under the False Claims Act is complicated and requires a knowledgeable attorney who has experience handling these types of cases. Extensive documentation and a solid legal strategy are necessary in order to prepare a claim that the Department of Justice will consider joining.

In general, the steps for filing a whistleblower claim include:

  • The whistleblower, known as the relator, works with an attorney to gather all the evidence and information available to build a solid argument in preparation for trial.  
  • The relator files a complaint in U.S. District Court and files a written disclosure of all the information he or she has. This disclosure is filed under seal, which means the whistleblower’s identity is not released initially.  
  • The Justice Department has 60 days to investigate the complaint and decide whether it will “intervene” and join the lawsuit. The government can request extensions of the 60-day period (during which the whistleblower’s identity is sealed) if more time is needed for an investigation.
  • If the government decides to intervene in the lawsuit, it takes over prosecution of the case, and the whistleblower is eligible to receive 15 to 25 percent of the amount recovered.
  • If the government declines to take over the qui tam action, the relator can still proceed with the case (although the government has a right to intervene at a later date).
  • Once the government has made its original decision, the complaint is unsealed, and the case against the defendant proceeds.

Because False Claims Act cases have a better chance of succeeding if the government joins in the lawsuit, our attorneys work closely with whistleblowers right from the start to develop a strong complaint and written disclosure for the government’s consideration. We want the government to see the value of prosecuting your claim, as well as the value of the information that you provide.  

Schedule a free consultation with our seasoned litigators today to discuss what to do if you believe you have information about government fraud.

Types of Conduct Leading to a Qui Tam LawsuitJustice scale and gavel inside the courtroom.Justice scale and gavel inside the courtroom.

There are several types of conduct that could warrant a qui tam lawsuit. All of them involve some type of submission of false claims to the government. For example:

  • Seeking reimbursement for goods and/or services that were never provided
  • Providing false descriptions of goods and/or services (inflating the value)
  • Conspiring to defraud the government through a false claim
  • Knowingly delivering fewer goods than what is listed on the paperwork
  • Knowingly purchasing government property from someone who is not authorized to sell it
  • Knowingly using a false record to reduce financial obligations to the government (known as a “reverse” false claim)

If you believe you have firsthand evidence of any type of false claim, you should gather any documentation you have and talk to one of our experienced qui tam lawsuit attorneys about your legal options. The information you possess could help the government uncover a costly scheme to defraud.   

Compensation for Whistleblowers Under the False Claims Act

With the help of people like you, the government has recovered more than $3.5 billion in whistleblower cases since 1986. In exchange, thousands of whistleblowers have been awarded more than $550 million for the cases they have brought against companies and individuals who were defrauding taxpayers.

When you file a whistleblower claim, compensation will vary depending on the circumstances of your claim. For example:

  • If the government intervenes in your qui tam action, you may receive between 15 and 25 percent of the amount recovered, depending on how crucial your information is to the success of the case.
  • If the government does not intervene, and you pursue the case on your own on behalf of the government, you may recover 25 to 30 percent of the compensation awarded to the government.
  • If the government determines the qui tam action is based primarily on information disclosed from other sources, your share may be reduced to no more than 10 percent.
  • If your False Claims Act lawsuit is successful, you may also be entitled to recover legal fees and other expenses.
  • If you were discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or otherwise discriminated against due to your actions as a whistleblower, you may be entitled to reinstatement plus double the back pay, interest on that back pay, and other losses. (This is part of whistleblower protection measures.)

If your qui tam lawsuit is successful, the government will pay your compensation once it has received payment from the defendant. You should know that if the Department of Justice decides to intervene in your claim, it has the right to resolve the case through an alternative remedy. However, you still maintain the same right to compensation as if your case had proceeded to trial.

How Long Do You Have to File a Whistleblower Claim?

If you have evidence or information that you believe reveals fraud against the government, you should speak with a knowledgeable attorney immediately about filing a whistleblower claim. There is a strict qui tam lawsuit statute of limitations on how to file a claim, and preparing a qui tam case takes time. You should know that you must bring the claim:

  • Within six years after the fraud is committed
  • Or within three years after the fraud is discovered
  • But no more than 10 years after the fraud is committed

In addition, the False Claims Act includes a first-to-file rule, which means if someone else files a claim about the fraudulent actions before you come forward, you will not be able to pursue your claim. Talk to our whistleblower attorneys today about your options for filing a claim.

Additional Information About Qui Tam Cases

Pursuing a case under the False Claims Act is complicated, but our whistleblower attorneys can help guide you through the qui tam lawsuit procedure. Some factors you should consider when deciding whether you have a qui tam case includes:

  • Information about the fraudulent claim cannot be obtained from a public source, such as the media or court records.
  • The company or individual accused of making the false claim must have done so knowingly.
  • A claim cannot involve a state government defrauding the federal government. However, it can involve a municipality defrauding the federal government.
  • The False Claims Act does not cover mismanagement by the government or a government contractor. The company must knowingly make a false claim to the government.
  • The False Claims Act does not cover tax fraud.

Do you have more questions about filing a whistleblower complaint? Contact us now, and schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Our Experienced Trial Attorneys Represent Whistleblowerslawyer consultationlawyer consultation

If you have evidence that your employer or another company is stealing from the government, you have a duty ─ and an incentive ─ to come forward and speak up. Through the False Claims Act, the federal government encourages everyday citizens to take action against fraudulent activities, and you may be entitled to compensation for your role in bringing the defendant to justice.

Contact us today to set up a free, no-obligation initial consultation, where we will go over the evidence you have and review your options for moving forward with a claim. Our law firm does not charge any fees upfront to begin work on whistleblower cases. Instead, we collect payment from you only if and when you recover compensation in your claim.