What Is Qui Tam?
From building bridges to administering Medicare, the government contracts with private businesses to carry out their work. Naturally, this creates the potential opportunity for fraudulent behavior on behalf of the contractors. “Qui tam” is short for the Latin phrase “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur.” Translated, the phrase means “who brings the action for the king as well as himself.” Qui tam suits are also known as “Whistleblower” lawsuits because a citizen informant “blows the whistle on” wrongdoers and exposes fraud. Qui tam suits reward whistleblowers who report false or fraudulent claims filed with the federal government. Whistleblower actions are filed pursuant to the False Claims Act, also known as the “Lincoln Law.”
How Do You Pronounce Qui Tam?
There are two commonly accepted pronunciations for “qui tam.” Some prefer the Latin pronunciation of qui, “kwee.” Others use the French pronunciation of qui, “kee.” As to “tam,” some pronounce it to rhyme with “yam,” while others pronounce it to rhyme with “tom.” According to the American Bar Association, any combination of pronunciations is acceptable.
Who Can File A Qui Tam Lawsuit?
Anyone with knowledge of federal government contractor fraud and proof of that fraud can file a qui tam action. A Whistleblower Lawsuit Attorney experienced in government contracts and qui tam actions files the suit along with the required paperwork on the citizen informant’s behalf. However, the case only proceeds if two conditions are first met. First, the filer must be the first person to notify the government of the fraud.
Second, the information must not already be within the public domain.
How does a Qui Tam lawsuit work?
If you are aware of a contractor’s fraudulent conduct, you should meet with an experienced Whistleblower Lawsuit Attorney to discuss the facts and circumstances surrounding the fraud against the federal government. Because only the first filer is entitled to compensation, you shouldn’t discuss this knowledge with anyone else. As a preliminary matter, the lawyer reviews the information with an eye towards the amount of available proof. The lawyer also reviews the facts to determine if the statute of limitations has lapsed. In qui tam actions, the length of time for filing varies based on different circumstances. For this reason, it is critical for you to contact a qui tam lawyer as soon as you become aware of the fraudulent conduct.
Filing a Complaint
If the statute of limitations time period has not lapsed, and the facts are sufficient, the attorney drafts a written complaint and Relator’s Statement. “Relator” refers to the person filing the lawsuit, also known as the citizen informant. The attorney files these documents with the Court and forwards these documents to the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) and to the U.S. Attorney General. These documents detail the identity of the party alleged to have engaged in fraud against the government and the details of the fraudulent behavior. The documents also include a description of the evidence that proves the fraudulent behavior.
The whistleblower lawsuit remains “under seal” for at least 60 days to give the Department of Justice ample time to review the claim. The government performs their own investigation of the claim and makes a determination about how they wish to proceed. It is not uncommon for the government to ask for, and receive, an extension of the 60-day period for their investigation. The government may take over the case, they may dismiss the case, they may settle the case, or they may decide not to intervene. Because the information is “under seal” during this time, it is critical that you not discuss the case with others or post anything on social media pertaining to the case.
If the government chooses not to intervene, you (along with your lawyer) proceed with the claim on behalf of the government. If the court finds fraudulent conduct, the Relator, as the person who brought the fraud to the government’s attention, is entitled to a percentage of the damages assessed. Depending on the circumstances, this can range from 15% to 25%.
Types Of Qui Tam Lawsuits
All qui tam suits involve frauds perpetrated upon the federal government. The most common whistleblower lawsuits involve the following:
- Defense contractor or military contracts
- Government purchases
- Environmental regulation
- Oil, gas, and mining
- Education fraud
- IRS Tax fraud
- Prevailing wage Act
Why are Qui Tam Cases Tricky to Prosecute?
The False Claims Act is very complicated. When selecting a lawyer for a qui tam suit, it is critical to hire a Whistleblower Action Attorney with the necessary experience resources to handle the case. Nadrich & Cohen’s Qui Tam legal team has pursued several whistleblower lawsuits on behalf of individuals who desired to expose fraud committed by contractors doing business with the federal government.
How Do I Find Out If I Have A Whistleblower Case?
If you have knowledge of contractor fraud being perpetrated upon the federal government, contact the Qui Tam lawyers of Nadrich & Cohen, LLP for a free case evaluation. The free case evaluation is completely confidential. There is no risk to you in choosing to pursue a whistleblower suit. Our attorneys only collect a fee, if we make a recovery. Our legal team will do all required work and there will be little effort required of you. If you choose to pursue a whistleblower suit, you can feel good about exposing fraud which hurts the federal government and U.S. taxpayers. If you believe that you may have a valid Whistleblower claim, take a stand and call the Whistleblower Action Attorneys of Nadrich & Cohen, LLP now for a free, confidential case evaluation.