False Claims Act - Qui Tam

Private citizens play an important role as whistleblowers to expose and end fraud on the government. The federal government, and many states like Minnesota, have laws to stop government fraud. These laws are called False Claims Acts, which permit citizens to bring suits on behalf of the government called qui tam actions. A qui tam action is intended to incentivize citizens to expose fraud involving any federally funded contract or program by entitling whistleblowers to share in the money recovered by the government. Whistleblowers are entitled to share between 15 to 30 percent of the funds recovered by the government. Depending on the amount of fraud, these actions can be quite lucrative for whistleblowers. In addition to receiving a portion of the funds recovered, False Claims Acts also protect whistleblowers by prohibiting any form of retaliation, namely termination.

If you believe you have evidence of fraud on the government, contact the whistleblower attorneys at our firm. Your evidence will be evaluated to determine whether you can bring a qui tam case under a federal or state False Claims Act. In general, False Claims Act cases arise in three contexts. The clearest context is when a company makes a misrepresentation that leads to government reimbursement under a contract. However, companies also violate the False Claims Act when they fail to disclose, or omit, a fact that would lead the government to reduce or withhold payments.  False Claims Act cases also arise when a company misrepresents or omits a fact to reduce the amount of money owed to the government.

In order to bring a qui tam action, a whistleblower must have evidence and knowledge that has not been publicly disclosed. Public disclosure most commonly occurs through a government hearing, government report, or the news media. The only exception is when the whistleblower is the original source of the information. Since public disclosure prevents whistleblowers from bringing a case, it is vitally important to consult with an experienced qui tam attorney in order to prevent such a disclosure prior to bringing your case.

False Claims Acts are an acknowledgement by the government that fighting fraud on taxpayers requires a joint effort between private citizens and the government. At the onset of a qui tam action, the case is presented to the United States Attorney’s Office and the government makes a determination whether to actively assist in the litigation of the action.

False Claims Act cases tend to arise in the health care industry, pharmaceutical industry and in companies who have regular contracts with the government. In the health care context, any fraudulent claim submitted to either Medicare or Medicaid constitutes fraud on the government. Health care fraud is frequently perpetrated by billing for services that were never provided, performing unnecessary medical procedures to increase reimbursement, performing excessive lab tests when not medically required, billing for brand name drugs when generic are provided, marketing drugs off-label (for uses not approved by Medicare or Medicaid), forging physicians signatures when required, or providing kickbacks to medical professionals to use a medical device or product. In the context of government contractors, fraud is frequently perpetrated by billing for services that were not provided, presenting untested equipment as operational and tested, billing for work outside the scope of the defense contract, false certification as a minority contractor, and failure to report a product defect.

False Claims Acts exclude tax fraud. However, if you have evidence that your employer or another company is engaged in tax fraud, the IRS Whistleblower Act provides many of the same incentives and protections as the federal False Claims Act. 

If you have evidence or knowledge of your employer or another company defrauding the government, contact one of our attorneys. The qui tam lawyers Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta LLP will review your information to determine all your legal options. When you contact our firm, you will always speak directly to a whistleblower lawyer.