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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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Air Marshal's Whistleblower Case Weighed by Supreme Court

Nov 7, 2014
The Supreme Court is considering a fired air marshal’s whistleblower case, which contends that he was unlawfully terminated from his position at the Transportation Safety Administration. The New York Times reports that on Tuesday, it seemed that the majority of Supreme Court justices were on the air marshal’s side and believed he was protected by federal whistleblower laws. The air marshal was secretly briefed on a terrorist threat affecting long-distance flights in 2003. Two days...

SEC $30 Million Whistleblower Award is Largest Yet

Sep 23, 2014
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that a foreign whistleblower will collect an award of more than $30 million, more than twice the highest previous award. The SEC did not identify the tipster, where the person is from, or what case the award is connected to, the Wall Street Journal reports. Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC's enforcement division, said, "this whistleblower came to us with information about an ongoing fraud that would have been very difficult to detect." The...

Medtronic Makes Final Payment of $362k to Settle Whistleblower Lawsuit, Kickback Allegations

Sep 22, 2014
With a final payment of $362,362, Medtronic has paid a total of $11.1 million to settle allegations that it used kickbacks to promote the use of its cardiac rhythm management products. The payment "concludes the investigation concerning Medtronic based on the allegations" brought by a whistleblower, according to a press release issued by the office of Eric Schneiderman, the U.S. Attorney General for New York. The payment will be split among the Medicaid programs in 46 states and the District...

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...

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