Federal & State False Claims Act (Qui Tam)

Virginia Qui Tam Attorneys

If you have discovered that a business or individual is defrauding the government, you may be conflicted as to how you are to react or respond.  Worrying about repercussions to your career or personal life, you may be unsure of your next move.  The law understands this dilemma but equally recognizes the great importance that the government maintain honorable business relationships.  As such, the law provides strong protections – and significant incentives – for individuals who alert the government to deceptive happenings.

The False Claim Act, known as Qui Tam Law or the Whistleblower statute, was originally passed in 1863 to combat rampant fraud being committed against the Union Army during the Civil War.  The law has undergone many revisions since its enactment but its purpose remains unchanged: to protect and encourage whistleblowers.

The term “whistleblower” refers to any individual exposing wrongdoing.  The law makes it worthwhile for whistleblowers to report fraudulent activities by providing a financial incentive to anyone who blows the whistle on fraud.  This, in turn, helps the government to recover money from those who commit fraud against it.

A Qui Tam claim is a lawsuit filed by a private party against a company or individual who has defrauded the government.  “Qui tam” is a Latin phrase which means “he who sues on behalf of the king sues for himself as well.”  This is a powerful weapon for private citizens to use to be protected and be rewarded for blowing the whistle on cases of fraud against the government.

A qui tam lawsuit is filed “under seal,” which means that it is kept secret from everyone except the government.  This allows the Justice Department to have time to investigate the allegations and determine whether to proceed with a lawsuit against the offending party.

Currently, federal law entitles a person who files a False Claims action to a reward which can range from 15% to 30% of the government’s recovery.  This rewards system can result in lucrative rewards, as fraud committed by government contractors and other companies can occur on a massive scale for many millions of dollars.

Qui tam cases cover a variety of fraudulent activities including:

  • Improper Medicare and Medicaid billing, including overbilling, upcoding, and billing for services or procedures that were not provided;
  • Overcharging for goods or services provided under government contracts;
  • Knowingly selling the government defective or dangerous products;
  • Selling the government used or refurbished equipment that has been certified as new;
  • Requesting payment for goods or services that were not provided, by providing fraudulent or false billing invoices.

Areas where fraud frequently occurs includes fraudulent marketing practices by drug companies, defense contractor fraud, public works construction fraud, fraudulent environmental programs, loan guarantees and agricultural subsidies.

The False Claims Act grants private citizens the right to sue a company, organization, or individual for defrauding the government.  Qui tam lawsuits must follow special legal procedures, so it is imperative for a whistleblower to contact the Virginia Qui Tam attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. to help you evaluate possible whistleblower claims under the Federal False Claims Act.  The Whistleblower Litigation Lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. are skilled to help you stand up against anyone defrauding the government.  Contact Robert E. Byrne, Jr. at (434) 817-3100 for a free and confidential consultation if you have a possible whistleblower claim.

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We serve clients throughout Virginia — from Charlottesville and Central Virginia to metropolitan Richmond; Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley to Roanoke; and the cities of Hampton Roads to the Northern Virginia cities of  Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington.

To speak with one of our attorneys, please call us at (434) 817-3100.

Our Virginia personal injury lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. also have a statewide practice and offer free consultations at a time and location that is convenient for you.  We will gladly meet with you at your home or at the hospital, even on nights and weekends.

To schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer, please call us at (434) 817-3100.