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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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$2.8 Million False Claims Act Settlement in Case Brought Against Medtronic

Jul 8, 2014
Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General (AG), has announced that her office joined in a $2.8 million multi-state and federal settlement that involves Medicaid fraud allegations involving Medtronic. The AG’s office indicated that it joined in the multi-million-dollar settlement to resolve allegations concerning Medtronic insulin infusion pumps. Pennsylvania joined 35 other states and the federal government so that allegations accusing Medtronic Inc. and its subsidiary,...

Supreme Court to Consider KBR Whistleblower Case

Jul 7, 2014
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Kellogg, Brown & Root’s appeal of a whistleblower case filed by a former employee who accused the contractor of defrauding the U.S. government on work it did in Iraq. Benjamin Carter, a former KBR employee, worked in Iraq as a water purification operator. He sued the company in 2006 under the federal False Claims Act, which allows individuals to sue on behalf of the government and claim a portion of the proceeds if the case is...

VA Staff Members Say They Are the Target of Retaliation

Jun 20, 2014
Current and former staff members from a number of Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country have said in interviews that they have long objected to practices at the VA that involved falsifying of patient appointment schedules. The staffers now say they have been the subjects of retaliation, according to interviews conducted by The New York Times. Also according to the interviews and internal documents, the whistleblowers allege that their objections to unethical ...

VA Inspector General Demands Whistleblower Documents Sent to Watchdog Group

Jun 13, 2014
The Office of Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has subpoenaed documents turned over anonymously to the independent watchdog group Project on Government Oversight (POGO).  Whistleblowers’ identities could be revealed.   A subpoena delivered to POGO on May 30 demands the group turn over information it has collected about abuses and mismanagement at VA medical facilities, Techdirt.com reports. The subpoena demands all records POGO has received...

SEC Awards $875 Million To Two Whistleblowers

Jun 6, 2014
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) just announced another whistleblower award. The award, in excess of $875,000, will be equally split between two individuals who provided tips and assistance to the SEC. The SEC’s whistleblower program, which was authorized by the Dodd-Frank Act, provides financial reward for what the agency deems to be high-quality, original information that leads to an SEC enforcement action and under which at least $1 million in sanctions occur,...

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