Qui Tam is a Latin Term that means “he who as well for the king as himself sues in the same manner”. Qui tam lawsuits are civil lawsuits that give whistleblowers the mechanism to help the government stop many kinds of fraud. Under the False Claims Act, a private citizen (whistleblower) can bring action on behalf of the government as well as themselves to stop fraudulent practices against the government. The whistleblower will be entitled to receive 15%-30% of a successful government recovery.
The healthcare industry is an area that has seen large recoveries from qui tam litigation. In 2011, recoveries in the industry totaled $2.4 billion. Recoveries from pharmaceutical companies represented $2.2 billion of the healthcare industry total. However, fraud against the government has been experienced throughout the industry. According to government audits, 10% of Medicare charges are fraudulent. Examples are billing multiple times for the same service, charging for services not performed and billing for expensive equipment while providing cheaper replacements. The healthcare industry is not alone in examples of fraudulent acts against the government. There have been recoveries from defense contractors, software companies and student loan lenders as well.
As the government becomes more diligent in their efforts to cut spending, your help as a private citizen is critical to eliminating fraudulent practices. Once you have evidence of fraud against the government and decide to blow the whistle, you should contact our office to seek counsel. We will work with you to develop the best course of action given the circumstances of your case. An important qui tam rule you should know about is only the first person who reports the fraudulent activity to the government can receive a portion of the reward. That is one reason why getting to an attorney quickly to help you file your claim is critical to your success.
The False Claims Act protects qui tam plaintiffs from retaliation for filing a claim. If you have been demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed or discriminated against in terms of condition of employment for filing a claim there are provisions for your protection. They include reinstatement, double back pay, interest on the back pay, plus damages such as litigation costs and attorney’s fees.
If you or someone you know has witnessed or experienced acts of fraud against the government, immediately call our office to seek consultation... We can help.