At the Federal Practice Group, our attorneys represent private individuals, known as “relators,” in qui tam lawsuits against companies and persons who commit fraud against the government. A relator who brings s a successful qui tam lawsuit may be able to receive an award of up to 30% of what the government is able to recover as a result of the relator’s whistleblowing.
The False Claims Act is the federal government’s primary litigation tool in combating fraud against it. Throughout the years, there has been a significant increase in enforcement activity under the civil and criminal False Claim Acts, both by direct government action and by private qui tam relators. In the fiscal year 2022 alone, the United States recovered $2.2 billion in False Claims Act settlements and judgments. Over $1.9 billion resulted from lawsuits that were filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, which were pursued by either the government or whistleblowers. Many states, as well as the District of Columbia, also have False Claims Act statutes that can be utilized to independently recover state funds lost to the alleged fraud.
At the Federal Practice Group, our skilled qui tam litigators provide zealous advocacy at the negotiation table and in the courtroom. Our team consists of internationally recognized trial lawyers who regularly assist clients who blow the whistle on fraud and abuse, and many of our attorneys previously served as government prosecutors before coming to private practice. This specialized knowledge allows our attorneys to develop a tailor-made strategy to work with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as it investigates the fraud and thereafter whether DOJ decides to intervene or not, in which case the attorneys at FPG may represent you to pursue the claim yourself.
Qui tam lawsuits are meant to incentivize whistleblowers who attempt to defend the federal government by holding individuals and corporations accountable for fraud. Those whistleblowers that bring to light others attempting to defraud the government are entitled to a percentage of the funds the government recovers in the case. An individual who brings forth evidence of fraud against the government, and has acquired legal representation, is eligible to bring a case against another person or business that is defrauding the government under the False Claims Act and can receive part of the funds recovered.
How much a whistleblower is eligible to receive depends on whether the government involves itself in the matter. The government is not legally obliged to involve itself in such cases.
The following shows two different scenarios possible for filers of qui tam claims:
Information regarding a qui tam claim is usually kept secret from all parties except the government, including the accused. This allows the Department of Justice to properly investigate the merits of the accusation. However, the government can and may choose to have the accused informed of the charges in hopes of reaching a settlement before going to trial. Potentially liable parties can benefit from negotiating an out-of-court settlement, as court verdicts can reach up to three times the amount lost by the government in addition to possible punitive damages.
The False Claims Act, as well as other federal laws, seeks to provide job protection to legitimate whistleblowers who put themselves at risk when reporting potential fraud of government agencies and are entitled to a share of the funds the government may recover. However, without higher knowledge of the legal implications involved with such legislation, many whistleblowers lacking representation can find themselves in difficult situations. If you believe you may be facing retaliation as a result of blowing the whistle on fraud, contact the Federal Practice Group to discuss your options.
At the Federal Practice Group, we have over a century of combined legal experience. Our legal advocates can help you navigate such a claim against an individual or corporation, helping you understand and practice your whistleblower rights. Our experience is directed towards protecting the rights of federal employees and offering them superior legal counsel and representation.
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