Qui Tam Whistleblower Actions
Qui tam whistleblower actions are civil lawsuits brought under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729, et seq., “for the government as well as the plaintiff.” Whistleblowers are entitled to a percentage of the recovery penalty as a reward for exposing fraud on the government to recover funds that have been improperly obtained from the United States Treasury and taxpayers. Defendants who are found liable under the False Claims Act face hefty damages, up to three times the amount of the government’s losses, plus penalties for each claim.
The whistleblower laws cover more than you may think, ranging from healthcare, tax, securities, and banking. In recent years, there has been a whistleblower revolution, as the False Claims Act has been amended by Congress to make it more far reaching. In addition, many states have enacted similar laws to encourage the disclosure of fraud on state and local governments.
If you are aware of a corporate scheme to commit financial fraud of any sort, it probably is covered by one of the qui tam laws, and you should consider consulting with Watson LLP about the issue. If you are considering bringing a whistleblower action, you should move quickly because the False Claims Act and most state whistleblower laws have a “first-to-file” rule, meaning only the first whistleblower to file the case is entitled to a recovery award from the government. After filing, the government may conduct an investigation into your allegations and intervene in the lawsuit. We are active in legal developments nationwide in qui tam laws through our blog, The Canary™.