Qui Tam Attorneys

Do you wish to report fraud against the government? This may be your employer, intentional overcharges by contractors, bank fraud, accounting fraud, and even false Medicare claims. These types of fraud end up affecting the taxpayer as they will be the ones to foot the bill. As a good citizen, you may be wondering how to report it, and if you will be protected. This is where qui tam lawsuits come in.

Under the False Claims Act, people who expose fraud against the government and recover losses for the treasury are usually entitled to a percentage of the total amount recovered. The United States has put measures in place to ensure that people who file whistleblower claims are protected.

If you have information on people defrauding the federal government, you should contact the lawyers at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton. Our qui tam attorneys are highly skilled and well versed on this subject, as they have helped many people speak up against illegal and fraudulent practices. They will guide you through the process, and ensure that you are represented fully.

What Is a Qui Tam Action?

Qui Tam is a technical legal term that refers to lawsuits brought under the False Claims Act. The False Claims Act, passed in 1863 makes it unlawful for people or companies to defraud the government. It prohibits wrongfully obtaining money and avoiding payment to the government.

It is usually filed by a private citizen plaintiff on behalf of the federal government, and not the government itself doing so. The person with the knowledge of the fraud against the government can file a civil suit against the perpetrator. The whistleblower who files a suit under the False Claims Act is known as a relator. Once the complaint is filed, the government has to investigate.

Types of whistleblower claims include:

  • Tax fraud
  • Fraudulent billing or accounting fraud
  • Health and safety violations
  • Procurement fraud
  • Medicare and Medicaid fraud
  • Pharmaceutical fraud, kickbacks, off-label promotion, and adulterated products
  • Corporate whistleblower fraud rewards
  • Guaranteed loan program fraud
  • Defense contractor fraud such as invoice issues, contract violations, and bid-rigging.
  • Environmental violations such as the release of toxic substances into air or water.

Who Can File a Qui Tam Action?

Any individual that has information and evidence of fraud against the federal government can file a qui tam action. This, however, can only be done if the government or other private parties have not already filed a lawsuit with the same evidence. If the government files a lawsuit based on the False Claims Act before you, you will have no right to file.

Before filing a qui tam lawsuit, you and your Qui Tam lawyer will need to meet with the government agency that will be handling the investigation. This will increase the chances of winning the case, and make it have a stronger claim.

Contrary to what most people think, you do not need to have been harmed personally to file a qui tam case. In the event that you were harmed personally, you will have to pursue a retaliation claim against the defendant.

How Much Money Can You Receive in a Qui Tam Settlement?

Under the False Claims Act, if the qui tam lawsuit wins in court, the recovery range for the whistleblower is 15-25% if the government intervenes and joins the relator’s lawsuit. Otherwise, if the government does not intervene in the case, you will be eligible for 25-30% percent of what is recovered.

The award that you will receive will depend on several factors such as:

  • The significance of the information given to the government
  • Whether the information was known previously by the government
  • The contribution of the person bringing the qui tam action
  • If the whistleblower reported the fraud promptly or not
  • If, upon learning about the fraud, the whistleblower tried to stop it or report to their supervisor
  • If the whistleblower had first-hand details of the fraud
  • How the whistleblower learned of the fraud, and if they were involved in it

How Can You Safely File a Qui Tam Action?

This lawsuit should be filed in federal court. It should also be compliant with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. You will also need to have a copy of the complaint, a written disclosure statement of all material evidence, and information that is in your [possession. These musty be served on the Attorney General of the United States. The complaint should also be served on the U.S. Attorney for the specific district that the action is brought.

When filing a qui tam complaint, you need to ensure that the complaint is filed under seal so that all records that are related to the case are kept on a secret docket by the court clerk. This seal will protect the relator, and until it is lifted, the contents must be kept confidential.

The complaint is also not served on the defendant until the court orders it. This ensures that you can safely file a qui tam action. If someone violates the confidential filing requirements of the False Claims Act, then the qui tam lawsuit will be dismissed immediately.

The identity of the whistleblower is usually disclosed to the government as part of the disclosure statement. The False Claims Act seeks to protect whistleblowers in the following ways:

  • It prohibits employer retaliation against the relator’s family and friends.
  • It protects the relators from employer harassment. This also entails independent contractors.
  • It also provides relief to relators that are demoted, suspended, threatened, discharged, or harassed in any other manner due to their whistleblowing acts. Examples of these include job reinstatement, compensation for special damages such as attorneys’ fees and litigation costs, and even twice the back pay with interest.

The False Claims Act works to ensure that people are protected once they report fraud, and they do not have to fear retaliation from their employers or other parties.

What Happens After a Qui Tam Action Is Filed?

Once you have filed your qui tam complaint in the federal district court and served a copy of it and disclosure statement on the U.S. Attorney General and that for the district, your case remains under seal. This happens for 60 days, which once the period is over, the government may request to extend the 60- day seal. In some instances, the seal may even last up to a year. While the lawsuit is under seal, the government conducts its investigations on your allegations. It then decides after the end of the seal period, whether to intervene and join the lawsuit or decline the intervention.

In the event that the government intervenes and decides to proceed with caution and join the lawsuit, the Department of Justice will have to prosecute the case. Also, you as the relator will have a right to continue as a party in the qui tam action and together with your lawyer, you may participate in the lawsuit, under some limitations. Here, the government can dismiss or settle the lawsuit even though you object to it, as long as the court consents on the hearing of the proposed settlement or dismissal.

A lawyer filing a qui tam action for a client.

In cases where the government chooses not to intervene, then you can conduct the qui tam action on your own. The complaint is usually served on the defendant after the government makes its position clear on whether it will intervene or not.

Statute Of Limitations For Qui Tam Actions

Under the False Claims Act, it is recommended that a qui tam action be filed within the following two time periods:

  • Six years from the date of the violation of the act
  • Or, three years after the government knows or should have known about the violation. It should not be longer than 10 years after the violation of the act.

Why Should I Get a Lawyer for a Qui Tam Lawsuit?

The answer to this is yes. This is because you do not know about the ins and outs of qui tam lawsuits, and you will need someone with in-depth knowledge of the subject. This is where qui tam attorneys come in. Choosing the right law firm for you is key to ensure that you win your case. You need to check how successful the firm has been in litigating qui tam cases. How much experience do they have? Will they withdraw if the government chooses not to intervene? Do they have experience in litigating the case in the event it goes to court?

These are some of the questions that you should ask when choosing a law firm. Look for the best trial attorneys in Alabama that have qui tam experience. This is where we come in. Our team is the best in Alabama and has remained at the cutting edge in qui tam litigation and the False Claims Act. To win your case, you need a law firm that knows the ins and outs of these cases, and that you can trust. This is why Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton is the best option for you.

Contact Our Qui Tam Attorneys Today

At Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, we will do an investigation of the fraud, analyze all the facts, and represent you all the way, thought the course of the lawsuit. We understand that these cases are complex, but we are up to the task. So, what are you waiting for today? Call us today at 855-965-1688 to get your case started.

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