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Qui Tam (or Whistleblower) Laws Have a Long History

Qui Tam | Lawsuits, Lawyers | Whistleblowers, Moneys Recovered, Civil False Claims Act | Defective Products, Inferior Material, Illegal Price Gouging, Union Army

Qui Tam (or Whistleblower) Laws Have a Long History

Qui Tam (or Whistleblower) Laws Have a Long History

Qui Tam, or whistleblower, laws have existed in Western cultures for over 600 years. An early example can be traced back to the U.S. Civil War, when Congressional hearings disclosed widespread instances of military contractor fraud that included defective products, substitution of inferior material, and illegal price gouging of the Union Army.

At the urging of Abraham Lincoln, Congress enacted the Civil False Claims Act, including Qui Tam provisions, as a tool to fight fraud. Between 1863 and 1986 the law was seldom used. But as a result of 1986 amendments, Qui Tam actions have increased dramatically and have been the most effective and successful means of combating procurement and program fraud. Since 1986, Qui Tam recoveries have exceeded $1 billion with most of the successes involving fraud in Defense and Health Care programs.

The False Claims Act states that whistleblowers are to be rewarded with a percentage of the money that the government recovers as a result of Qui Tam lawsuits. This provision helps encourage people to assist the government in reducing Medicare fraud, defense fraud and other kinds of fraud, despite the effect whistleblowing might have on their jobs and personal lives.

Under the False Claims Act the government may recover up to three times the amount of money it lost as a result of the defendant's fraud. The whistleblower's share is calculated based upon the amount the government recovers, not the actual losses.

A number of factors determine how much money a whistle-blower will receive if the government is able to recover money from the defendant. If the government joins the case, the whistleblower is entitled to at least 15 percent, but not more than 25 percent of what the government recovers.

If the government declines to join the case and the whistleblower continues with a suit against the defendant, the whistleblower is entitled to at least 25 percent, but not more than 30 percent of the money the government recovers.

Affordable Care Act Infuses Qui Tam with New Lifeblood

The Affordable Care Act, passed during President Obama’s administration, has enabled the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand its efforts to prevent and fight fraud, waste and abuse. Since passage of the act, the CMS has revoked the ability of some 14,663 providers and suppliers to bill Medicare since March 2011; it has also recovered $14.9 billion.

Seniors on Medicare played a large role in helping the government to make that recovery; primarily, they used a Medicare hotline to report instances of fraud they noticed on their statements. As of mid-2013, the government was working on bolstering its efforts to incentivize these Medicare whistleblowers: It has proposed legislation that will enable whistleblowers to collect nearly $10 million in some instances; the previous cap has been about $10,000. Additionally, the CMS will be rolling out redesigned quarterly Medicare statements, which are meant to help seniors more easily notice fraudulent billings.

Legal Help for Individuals Who Would Like to Bring About a Qui Tam Lawsuit

If you are a current or former employee and have information on any illegal activities, please fill out the form at the right for a free case evaluation by a qualified attorney or call us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).

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National Hospital Chain Settles Whistleblower Lawsuits for $98 Million

Aug 13, 2014
The largest operator of acute care hospitals, Community Health Systems Inc., has agreed to pay $98.15 million to settle seven whistleblower lawsuits, including one brought by the former medical director of the emergency department at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center in Mooresville, South Carolina. The lawsuits alleged that Community Health Systems knowingly billed government health care programs for inpatient services that should have been billed as outpatient or “observation”...

Senate Establishes National Whistleblower Appreciation Day

Aug 13, 2014
The U.S. Senate, by unanimous resolution, declared July 30, 2013 National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. The National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) announced the action and noted the tremendous contributions whistleblowers have made to American democracy, as well as their struggles and sacrifices. The resolution (S.Res.202) not only designated the National Whistleblower Appreciation Day but also encouraged government agencies to recognize the day in a number of ways, including informing...

DOJ Takes Part in Whistleblower Lawsuit Against Symantec

Aug 13, 2014
The Department of Justice has decided to take part in a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that software giant Symantec misrepresented discounts it gave to commercial customers and subsequently overcharged the federal and some state government, The Washington Post reports. According to the Wall Street Journal, Symantec entered into a contract with the General Services Administration in 2007. The terms of the contact stated that the software company would sell products directly to federal purchases...

Federal Appeals Court Reinstates Claims by 9/11 Cleanup Workers

Aug 7, 2014
A federal appeals court in New York has reinstated claims by 211 workers who sought compensation for alleged exposure to toxic contaminants when they worked on cleanup in buildings near the World Trade Center site after the September 11 attacks. Last Thursday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a lower court judge had been mistaken in dismissing the workers’ claims. They had answered "none" on a questionnaire that asked if they had been "diagnosed" with ailments, injuries or...

Record Number of Whistleblower Cases Filed in 2013

Aug 4, 2014
The federal government is on track to receive record payouts this year for contractor-fraud lawsuits, thanks to 753 whistleblowers who came forward to report fraud and mismanagement. Patrick Burns, co-director of the nonprofit organization Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund, said the Department of Justice should collect more than $5 billion under the federal False Claims Act by the close of fiscal year 2014, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. This includes $2.2 billion paid by Johnson &...

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