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Qui Tam or False Claims Act Cases
Those on the inside may have the best information about fraud against the government, which is why the law encourages whistleblowers to step forward. The law allows whistleblowers to recover 15 to 30% of amounts recovered from a defendant in qui tam or False Claims Act cases. These cases proceed differently from other types of cases, so if you believe you may have a claim, read this page and speak with an attorney immediately.
Though all cases are different a typical qui tam case would proceed as follows.
If you believe you have evidence of fraud against the government, take the following steps:
Speak with an attorney experienced in False Claims Act or qui tam actions as soon as possible. There are time limits for filing any claim. For qui tam actions, the limit is generally six years after a violation or three years after you or the government knew or should have known about the violation. The rules governing time limits are complicated and could prevent your case from moving forward, so speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
False Claims Act cases proceed differently than other civil cases, so an attorney with experience is essential. You can speak to experienced attorneys at Mehri & Skalet for free to help evaluate your case. You may learn more about their practice areas here, read about our expert whistleblower practice here, and contact them here.
Your attorney will walk you through the best way to record and collect any evidence that you have. Be sure to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
You and your attorney may file a False Claims Act lawsuit, under seal, in the appropriate court after filing a disclosure statement explaining the case and providing all of your evidence. The suit, along with a collection of all your evidence will then be provided to the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney in the correct district. The federal government will conduct an investigation while the case is under seal. The government controls the speed and scope of the investigation.
Remember that cases brought under the False Claims Act must be kept confidential. You will need to refrain from discussing the case with anyone other than your attorney.
Generally, after the government concludes its investigation, it can choose to “intervene” in your case, meaning that it can join and help prosecute the case. If the government does not intervene, you and your attorney may still choose to continue. In most cases, the seal is lifted from the case after the government concludes its investigation.
Qui tam actions, like all court cases, may take a long time to resolve. You may be asked to provide statements under oath at depositions, as will others who have knowledge of the case. If the case goes to court, you and others may be asked to testify.
Either the parties will settle the case, or if the case goes through litigation, the court will issue a ruling. If the defendant is found or admits to fraudulent activity or making one or more false claims, you are entitled to fifteen to thirty percent of the total recovery from the defendant. If the case has to be litigated and you win, the law requires that the damages awarded are trebled, or tripled.
The False Claims Act protects you from retaliation for your whistleblower activities. This means your employer cannot discharge, demote, harass or otherwise discriminate against you for bringing the claim. If you believe that you are being retaliated against for your whistleblowing, speak to your attorney right away. There are time limits, which vary, for filing claims for retaliation.