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Whistleblower and Qui Tam

Fraud against the government is in the billions of dollars. Citizens who report government fraud may be entitled to a reward of as much as 30% of monies recovered by the government as a result of “blowing the whistle” against the wrongdoers.  In the employment setting, employees may be aware that their employer is committing fraud against the government and potentially entitled to a reward of monies recovered by the government.

Qui Tam refers to actions brought under the False Claims Act, 31 USC §§ 3729 – 3733. It is an old English common law doctrine that is taken from the Latin phrase “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur,” which means “who sues in this matter for the king as well as for himself.”  The False Claims Act permits filing suit on behalf of the government for fraud against the government and imposes liability on persons and companies who defraud governmental programs.  Primarily this involves submitting false claims for payment and making false statements to the government in connection with claims for payment.

In addition to the False Claims Act, there are other laws that potentially entitle whistleblowers to receive rewards in the event that monies are recovered by the government.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) whistleblower law provides for rewards to people who disclose tax fraud if the amount of unpaid taxes at issue is in excess of $2 million.  The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) whistleblower law provides for rewards to people who report securities fraud.

Other whistleblower laws prohibit retaliation against employees who engage in protected activity.  For example, Florida public and private sector whistleblower statutes prohibit retaliation against employees who complain that their employer has violated a law, rule or regulation.

If you have questions, please contact us for a consultation about your case.