Qui Tam, Whistleblower Lawsuits and False Claims Act
Qui Tam lawsuits, more commonly known as whistleblower lawsuits, are established under the False Claims Act ( 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733) and allow you to sue on behalf of the government for fraud, even when you weren't necessarily harmed by those actions. The United States has recovered billions of dollars from these sorts of lawsuits. Claimants bringing these actions have also recovered billions. State governments often have similar False Claims Act statutes as well.
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These suits are brought by people who have insider information about a business that has fraudulently billed the government. Examples include drug companies providing prescription drug and medical devices to government healthcare systems. In fiscal year 2010, the Department of Justice reported they recovered $3 billion in fraud committed on the U.S. government. $2.3 billion of this was recovered as a result of whistleblower actions.
The reward to the claimant in a qui tam action can be as much as 30% of the recovered sum. In 2009 there was an award of over $50 million dollars given to a former employee of Pfizer for fraud she exposed. In 2010 a whistleblower received $96 million in connection with a $750 million fine levied on GlaxoSmithKline for knowingly selling adulterated drugs.
Our attorneys will work closely with you to determine what documentary and electronic evidence is important in proving a claim. Legal papers are then filed under seal with the appropriate U.S. Federal Court, and the U.S. Justice Department is notified of the claim. Our federal litigation partners will work with the U.S. Justice to determine if the federal government will intervene in the action or will allow the action to proceed independently. At any point in the process a settlement offer may be made, and the trial lawyers from our firm will present to our client a detailed accounting of what the settlement proceeds would actually be, along with the prospects of a better result with continued litigation.
If you believe your employer is committing fraud against the government contact the lawyers at Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo & Plotkin LLP for a free consultation.