If your employer is committing fraud against the federal government, you have the option of filing a civil qui tam action and will be protected against employer retaliation by the False Claims Act. Defendants found liable may have to pay up to three times the government’s losses for every false claim, as well as penalties of up to $10,000 per claim. As a whistleblower, you may receive up to 25 percent of the amount recovered when there is government intervention. If there is no government intervention, the potential reward rises to up to 30 percent of recovered claims and penalties.
Each year, the government loses billions of dollars to fraud, whether it involves Medicare, defense contractors, or others trying to benefit themselves at the expense of taxpayers. Violations include presenting false claims to the government for payment, conspiracy to receive false payment from the government, using a false record to obtain government payment, or using a false record to avoid or decrease a payment to the federal government.
Filing a Qui Tam Action
While anyone with evidence of federal fraud may file a qui tam civil suit, you cannot file a suit if a previous party has filed suit using the same evidence. In other words, if a co-worker at your company has the same information and decided to become a whistleblower by filing a qui tam action, you cannot do the same.
Qui tam actions are filed under seal and confidentially with a federal district court. A copy is also filed with both the U.S. Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney serving the district in which the complaint is filed. The defendant does not receive the complaint for at least 60 days while the Justice Department investigates the allegations. This period is often extended. If the party bringing the suit violates the confidentiality, the qui tam suit may be dismissed.
The False Claims Act protects whistleblowers, and if the employee is fired, harassed, or is subject to various forms of discrimination, they may receive relief including reinstatement, doubling of any back pay, and reimbursement for legal fees.
Statutes of Limitations
Under the False Claims Act, qui tam lawsuits must be filed within either six years of the Act’s violation, or three years after the government knows, or should have known, about the violation. Qui tam lawsuits cannot go forward if it has been longer than 10 years since the events occurred.
Philadelphia Qui Tam Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Advocate for the Rights of Whistleblowers
If you know that a company is engaging in fraud against the government, you may bring a civil qui tam action. To do so, you need the services of the experienced Philadelphia qui tam lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Fill out our online form or call 215-569-1999 to schedule your initial consultation. We are centrally located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and we serve clients from the surrounding areas.