Qui Tam Lawsuits

NY Attorneys Guiding Whistleblowers Through Qui Tam Lawsuits

The federal government relies heavily upon whistleblower programs that pay bounties to individuals who provide information about fraud on the government that ultimately leads to successful enforcement actions. The False Claims Act and the qui tam lawsuits it authorizes have helped the federal government uncover many billions in fraudulent payments made under federal contracts and programs. Individuals who pursue meritorious qui tam actions are typically rewarded with a significant portion of the funds recovered. However, qui tam cases are complicated and proper procedures are essential to ensuring whistleblowers receive fair compensation. Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP protects your rights and will act to recover the money you are entitled to under these whistleblower statutes.

The False Claims Act

The False Claims Act was a product of the American Civil War signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. Despite its age, the Act has changed fairly little and continues to be actively utilized by those with knowledge of government fraud. The Act allows individual plaintiffs, called relators, to bring legal action on behalf of the United States to recover money paid by the government in response to false or fraudulent claims. For example:

  • Overbilling by federal contractors
  • Medicare and Medicaid fraud
  • Fraudulent use of grants or loans
  • Misuse of disaster relief funds
  • The government not getting the goods or services it paid for, in compliance with contractual specifications

A relator with knowledge of such fraud is permitted to bring a qui tam action even if he or she has not been personally harmed and would not typically have standing. Once filed, the government receives notice of the suit and may choose to intervene, to allow us to proceed without government intervention or to cause the suit to be dismissed.

Compensation available to qui tam relators

Under the False Claims Act, those who willfully defraud the federal government are liable not only for the amount defrauded but for up to three times that amount as well as other penalties. A successful qui tam relator can receive up to 25 percent of the amount recovered if the government does choose to intervene. Relators whose attorneys pursue qui tam actions without government intervention can receive up to 30 percent.

False claims retaliation

Qui tam complaints filed in federal district court usually remain sealed for at least 60 days. However, with extensions they may, and typically do, remain sealed for much longer while the Department of Justice or other appropriate agency investigates the allegations and decides whether to intervene. Ultimately, however, the defrauding party must receive notice of the suit and the identity of the relator. As relators are often employees or agents of the accused party, the False Claims Act contains an anti-retaliation provision that shields whistleblowers from retaliation for reporting government fraud. This applies to qui tam relators as well as those who report fraud through other means.

Consult with an experienced NYC False Claims Act attorney

While doing so is often felt as a moral imperative and a citizen’s duty, deciding exactly how and when to blow the whistle on government fraud should receive significant attention and forethought. An experienced New York False Claims Act law firm can help those with knowledge of government fraud decide just what action to take and whether a qui tam lawsuit would be in their best interests. If you have information about government fraud and do not know what to do next, call our office today at (212) 688-5640 or contact us online to arrange a confidential consultation. Se habla espanol.