The False Claims Act is a federal law that allows private individuals to file qui tam lawsuits, or whistleblower lawsuits, against individuals, businesses or other entities for fraud against the government.  The False Claims Act has been an effective tool in combating various frauds on the government, including Medicare or Medicaid fraud, contractor and/or construction fraud, and fraud involving government agencies such as the FDA. 

Qui Tam Provisions of the False Claims Act

The term qui tam comes from the Latin phrase, qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur, meaning “he who sues for the king as well as himself.”  The qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act allow whistleblowers to file False Claims Act lawsuits against companies and individuals who defraud the government.  Many people with inside information regarding illegal activity against federal or state governments at their places of employment might remain silent for fear of whistleblower retaliation.  However, the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act aim

to encourage whistleblowers to report the fraud by providing protection for whistleblowers and financial incentives.  Whistleblowers, however, should consult a lawyer before reporting violations of the False Claims Act to ensure that they have a legal representative looking out for their rights.

False Claims Act Recovery

The False Claims Act provides that the government is entitled to treble damages; that is, a whistleblower can recover on behalf of the government three times the amount that the government lost because of the fraud.  Additionally, the whistleblower is typically allowed to share between 15-30% of those damages.  Since 1986, the government has recovered over $14 billion as a result of whistleblower lawsuits filed under the False Claims Act, and whistleblowers have kept over $2.2 billion of those recoveries. 

False Claims Act Attorneys

If you have knowledge of past or ongoing fraud against the government by an individual, company, corporation or other organization, you should contact a whistleblower attorney to determine whether you can file a whistleblower lawsuit under the False Claims Act. 

Published November 17, 2011 by