When a whistleblower exposes fraud on the government, the government can bring a qui tam claim against the alleged wrongdoer. Qui tam claims are claims on behalf of the government that argue the defendant has committed a criminal or fraudulent act. Several federal and state laws protect whistleblowers and even reward them for recovering government funds. If you would like more information regarding how to begin a qui tam claim or if you have any questions regarding qui tam claims in general, speak with an experienced Austin false claims act lawyer at Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers.
What Is the False Claims Act?
The False Claims Act (also called the “Lincoln Law”) imposes liability on the federal contractors or individuals who defraud the government. It’s the main tool the government uses to litigate against perpetrators of fraud that harms the government. The False Claims Act contains qui tam and whistleblower provisions, protecting those who speak up against government fraud.
The False Claims Act covers any federally funded program involving fraud, other than tax fraud. Tax fraud is dealt with separately through the IRS. In recent years, the most common qui tam actions have involved Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
Qui tam claims are always brought to court under the False Claims Act, a law that rewards whistleblowers for exposing fraud or illicit activity. Fraud that impacts the government financially includes Medicaid fraud, contractor fraud, and other types of fraud that leads to the theft of money from taxpayers and the U.S. Treasury.
Under the False Claims Act, a citizen can sue a business (or an individual) that is committing fraud against the government without suffering retaliation. A qui tam claim is sealed from the public eye while the Justice Department takes time to investigate the situation. The defendant is not informed about a qui tam claim until the government investigation is complete – this can take years.
Limits of the False Claims Act
While the False Claims Act provides a measure of protection to whistleblowers and permits the government to litigate against fraudulent persons, the law and economics of litigation considerably limit it. Company or individual fraud must reach a certain level for a whistleblower to consider it worth losing his or her career and taking on the time and expense to file a False Claims Act case.
If the courts find the defendant guilty of fraud and false claims, the defendant has to pay up to three times the amount of money stolen from the government as well as court fees and other damage compensation. When a small company defrauds the government, it may declare bankruptcy. Therefore, it’s not always worth it to take a smaller company to court.
How to Start a Qui Tam/False Claim Action
To proceed with complex, timely, and expensive qui tam/False Claims Act claims, you and your Austin employment lawyer must have a strong case against the defendant. Act quickly with your whistleblower claim, and hire an attorney with extensive experience handling local and federal False Claims Act laws.
The lawyer you hire makes a huge difference in qui tam claims and can make or break your case against the defendant. Qui tam cases don’t move quickly and take a great deal of investigation and experienced litigation. Qui tam and False Claim Act cases are time-consuming and costly, meaning you must hire a lawyer with the financial resources to keep your case alive.
Consult an Austin False Claims Act Lawyer at Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers
For skilled, committed qui tam lawyers in the area, trust Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers of Texas. We have the experience, litigation experience, and state-of-the-art resources to take your qui tam/False Claim Act case to court. We’ll see your case through no matter how long it takes to come to trial, if necessary, and help to seek your rights under the law. Contact Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers online or call our office at 512-474-7677 to speak with a knowledgeable and qualified false claims act attorney in Austin, TX.