Coming forward and blowing the whistle on illegal activity shows bravery and honesty.
However, it is also difficult to do. Filing a qui tam action is a complex, confusing process, and it is often necessary to seek help from a lawyer.
At Martinson & Beason, P.C., we’re here to help whistleblowers, giving them the information and guidance they need. If you or someone you know is considering filing a qui tam action, please read our FAQ below to learn more about the process.
If you have questions, contact us today for a free, confidential consultation with an experienced Huntsville, AL False Claims Act lawyer.
Under the False Claims Act, it is illegal to defraud the government through a false claim, record, or statement. It is unlawful to commit fraud in order to obtain money or avoid paying money to the government.
The False Claims Act allows people with evidence of fraud to sue on behalf of the government.
Violations under the act include presenting a false claim for payment, using a false record or statement to get a claim paid, conspiring with others to get a false claim paid, and using a false record or statement to avoid paying money or property.
Anyone can file a qui tam lawsuit as long as they have evidence of fraud. However, it’s important to note that you cannot file a lawsuit if another person has filed a lawsuit based on the same evidence that you have.
A qui tam lawsuit should be filed confidentially and under seal in federal district court. A copy of the complaint, including a disclosure of the evidence, should be sent to the U.S. Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney in the district.
The False Claims Act requires that a qui tam lawsuit be filed either six years from the date of the violation or three years after the government knew (or should have known) about the violation—as long as ten years have not passed from the date the violation occurred.
Many people who are aware of illegal activity are afraid to come forward because they believe that they will be retaliated against. However, the False Claim Act offers protections. It is illegal for an employer to fire, demote, harass, or discriminate against an employee for being a whistleblower. If the whistleblower experiences any of these, he or she is entitled to reinstatement, double back pay, and compensation for attorney’s fees.
Awards are offered as an incentive for filing a lawsuit on behalf of the government. If your qui tam lawsuit is effective, you may receive 15 to 30 percent of the recovery from the defendant.
Under the False Claims Act, the defendant is liable for three times the amount he or she defrauded the government and civil penalties of $5,000 to 10,000 for each violation.