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Qui Tam

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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Fired JCPenney Employee in Florida Files Whistleblower Lawsuit

Mar 26, 2015
A Florida JCPenney employee has filed a lawsuit claiming he was fired in retaliation for reporting that the retailer was overcharging customers. The man filed a claim against JCPenney under Florida's Private Whistleblower Act, Fortune reports. The company's former CEO, Ron Johnson, could be required to give a deposition in the case. The fired employee worked in the custom decorating department of the St. Petersburg, Florida Penney's store, first from 2007 and 2009 and then returning, part...

Appeals Court Decisions Hold Whistleblowers Not Barred from Bringing Qui Tam Lawsuits

Mar 5, 2015
A whistleblower who brings a qui tam lawsuit under the federal False Claims Act (FCA) faces the hurdle of the public disclosure bar. A qui tam case may be dismissed if it is "based upon the public disclosure of allegations or transactions" in certain specified ways, including in a government "report, hearing, audit, or investigation," unless the whistleblower is the "original source" of that information. In 1999, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that information...

Maine Settles Whistleblower Lawsuit with Former Health and Human Services Employee

Feb 19, 2015
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services will pay a former employee $142,500 to settle a federal whistleblower lawsuit. A former division director for the Maine Center for Disease Control sued DHHS and her bosses at the CDC. She said they harassed and retaliated against her for refusing to shred public documents. DHHS released the settlement agreement Friday, the Bangor Daily News reports. A co-plaintiff, a CDC office manager, will be paid $22,500 by the state, and the state also will...

Whistleblower Wins Settlement in Lawsuit against Southwest Airlines

Feb 16, 2015
A Southwest Airlines mechanic who alleges that he was disciplined for finding and reporting cracks in the fuselage of a Boeing 737-700 has won a settlement. According to Forbes, Southwest has agreed to pay the mechanic $35,000 in legal fees and remove the disciplinary action from his file. Forbes reports that the case was filed under the whistleblower protection of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century, or AIR-21 statute. Under this statute, airline...

Whistleblower Wins Ruling Against U.S. Department of Interior

Jan 26, 2015
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is urging healthcare professionals to better inform women about the risks of taking valproate medicines, which are used to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder. The product information was recently updated to include the risk of developmental disorders in children exposed to valproate during pregnancy. According to MHRA, 375 out of 35,000 women prescribed valproate become pregnant each year. Last year, a European review found that...

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