Whistleblower / Qui Tam
Have you witnessed someone in your workplace committing fraud or other illegal activity, and have evidence to prove it? If so, you may want to consider filing a whistleblower lawsuit, also known as a qui tam lawsuit.
Whistleblowers are often employees, former employees and others who have access to company documents and internal information that proves an organization is defrauding the government out of money. This can include Medicare and Medicaid fraud, health insurance billing fraud, defense contractor fraud, physician/hospital kickbacks, and many other types of financial fraud against the government.
Becoming a whistleblower takes courage and integrity, and is not an easy decision to make.
Once a person decides to blow the whistle, that person needs to find a whistleblower attorney to represent him/her. A skilled whistleblower lawyer can be the key factor in whether or not the qui tam lawsuit is successful, and whether or not the whistleblower receives a reward and the amount of the reward.
Since 1987, the federal government has recovered $39 billion from successful qui tam whistleblower cases. In addition, the federal government has paid more than $4.2 billion in qui tam awards to whistleblowers.
Contact Bradley/Grombracher today to receive a free, confidential review of your whistleblower claims. The qui tam attorneys at Bradley/Grombacher will determine if you have a viable case and discuss the next steps to take.
What is a Whistleblower Lawsuit?
A whistleblower lawsuit, also known as a qui tam lawsuit, is a type of civil lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act.
The False Claims Act, also called the “Lincoln Law,” was enacted during the Civil War to combat fraud against the federal government by suppliers to the Union Army. Today, the False Claims Act has become one of the government’s most effective tools in combating fraud and abuse of federal spending.
The False Claims Act includes a qui tam provision that allows private citizens who are not affiliated with the government, called “relators” or more commonly “whistleblowers,” to sue on behalf of the government. These private citizen whistleblowers have become a vital resource for the government, which lacks the information and resources necessary to look into every false or fraudulent claim. Whistleblowers are able to present evidence of fraud that would have otherwise gone undetected.
What Is Considered a Violation of the False Claims Act?
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a person does not violate the False Claims Act by simply submitting a false claim for payment to the government. In order to violate the FCA, a person must have knowingly submitted (or caused to be submitted) the false claim, or made a false statement or record to conceal, avoid, or decrease an obligation to pay money or transmit property to the federal government.
Under the law, knowledge of false information is defined as being:
- Actual knowledge,
- Deliberate ignorance of the truth or falsity of the information, or
- Reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the information.
What is the Qui Tam Statute of Limitations?
Qui tam cases are subject to a statute of limitations and must be filed within six years of the violation, or within three years after the government should have known about the violation, whichever is later. Under no circumstances may a qui tam lawsuit be brought more than 10 years after the date of a violation.
However, there are many complex rules involving qui tam statute of limitations, including “first-to-file” rules, public disclosure bans, and limitations on pursuing retaliation claims. It would be wise to speak with a whistleblower attorney as soon as possible to see if your claims meet the qui tam statute of limitations.
What Types of Fraud Can Be Reported?
There are many types of fraud that can lead to a whistleblower lawsuit, including but not limited to:
- Mortgage Loan Underwriting Fraud
- Medicare Fraud
- Medicaid Fraud
- Health Insurance Fraud
- Government Contractor Fraud
- Flawed Pharmaceutical Products
- Physician/Hospital Kickbacks
- Foreign Bribery
- Misuse of Small Business Designation
- Misuse of Woman-Owned Business Designation
- Misuse of Minority-Owned Business Designation
- Misuse of Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Designation
- Bank Fraud
- Tax Fraud
- Other Misconduct
Will I Get a Whistleblower Reward?
Qui tam provisions provide several incentives to whistleblowers, including monetary payment if the case is successful. A successful qui tam case is one in which the government recovers money from the defendant.
If the government intervenes in a qui tam lawsuit, the whistleblower is entitled to receive between 15 percent and 25 percent of the amount recovered by the government through the lawsuit.
If the government declines to intervene, the whistleblower’s share is increased to 25 percent to 30 percent.
Under certain circumstances, the whistleblower’s share may be reduced to no more than 10 percent unless they were involved in planning or initiating the fraud. In that case, the court may reduce the whistleblower award within limitation.
If a qui tam lawsuit is successful, the whistleblower also is entitled to legal fees and other expenses.
How Do I File a Whistleblower Lawsuit?
If you’re wondering whether or not you should file a whistleblower lawsuit, chances are that you’ve witnessed fraud, corruption or other illegal activity in your workplace. Contact Bradley/Grombacher, a whistleblower law firm, to learn about your options. You may be eligible to file a qui tam lawsuit.
Call Bradley/Grombacher today at 1 (805) 270-7100 or fill out the form on this page now for a FREE consultation.