Not many people know what Qui Tam is or what it means. It’s a branch of law that protects the government.
Qui Tam refers to a set of rules that lets people blow the whistle (a.k.a. Whistleblower legislation) on those who try to defraud the government. The fraud committed would violate the False Claims Act and those who do step forward and speak up about the illegal doings of others are often called relators. The plaintiff/relator may then bring a lawsuit on behalf of the US government. It’s important to note that none of this takes place unless the defendant has “knowingly” committed fraudulent acts against the government.
You’d be right if you guessed that cases like this are tough to prove, tough to pursue in the courts and tough on which to collect. However, having said that, for those that choose to stay the course, the rewards are often fairly lucrative, since in the event of a case win, the plaintiff gets to collect a relatively large amount of cash based on the total judgment.
The main benefits of Qui Tam law are that it protects the government when someone has been ripping them off, allows recovery of the ill gotten funds on behalf of the government, and pays quite well in the long run. If people didn’t come forward to report on other individuals who were cheating the government out of millions of dollars, there would be a whole lot of tax money washing away down the drain.
While you might think that the whistleblower would be in a tough spot for ratting someone out, the Qui Tam law protects the relator and makes it illegal to harass, fire, demote or otherwise create problems for the individual. They are also accorded some level of privacy relating to their identity. This law is applicable in all states and in various different forms, and if you are in a situation where you have evidence of fraud against the government, speak to an experienced attorney to find out what the whistleblower legislation says in your state.
Generally speaking, there is a fairly broad range of areas in which Qui Tam actions are filed, and they include Medicare fraud (billing for services not rendered); postal service fraud (faking the weight of parcels to not pay the full amount to the post office for services rendered); student loan fraud (lying to get more federal funds); and customs fraud (lying about the value of items being shipped).
If you have questions about Qui Tam law and how it may affect you if you do file a lawsuit, speak to a skilled attorney who will be able to answer your questions and outline what happens at every stage of the process.