Have you ever seen a poster or electronic notice indicating that there are rewards for information concerning criminal wrongdoing? These circumstances are distinct from pursuing civil damages in the event someone causes you harm. Instead, you’re being told that if you can provide valuable information that helps to right a wrong, you’ll be rewarded even if you weren’t affected personally by that wrongdoing.
Qui tam lawsuits aren’t that different from “reward for information” scenarios. A qui tam claim is filed by a private individual or entity referred to as a “relator.” This individual may be granted a whistleblower reward if their lawsuit is successful. Filing a potentially successful qui tam lawsuit involves targeting a party that has engaged in fraudulent conduct against the government.
Authority granted under the False Claims Act
The False Claims Act essentially empowers relators to prosecute lawsuits on the government’s behalf. Qui tam, which means “in the name of the king” is a scenario in which a whistleblower files an action both on behalf of the government and themselves.
Most of the time, qui tam actions are filed by employees of a corporation that is committing specific kinds of fraud against the government but this isn’t always the case. Any individual or private entity can file a qui tam action. Cases involving federal fraud are filed under powers enumerated in the False Claims Act. Fraud against state governments may potentially be filed under state false claims acts, if any given state in question has passed such an act.
If you are aware of procurement fraud, Medicaid or Medicare fraud, defense contractor fraud or any other wrongdoing that involves payment-related fraud concerning the government, it’s important to consider your legal options carefully. If you’re in a position to serve as a whistleblower, you may reap rewards on behalf of the government and yourself.