Federal & State False Claims Act (Qui Tam)

Virginia Qui Tam Attorneys

VIRGINIA QUI TAM ATTORNEYS

If you have discovered that a business or individual is defrauding the government, and are conflicted as to how you are to react or respond, you can turn to Virginia Qui Tam Attorneys from MartinWren, P.C. 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.

Reporting Unlawful Activity

Reporting instances of illegal activity that your employer or someone else is engaging in can be a heavy decision to make. For many, the easier option is to ignore what is happening so as not to make waves. When a company is participating in business dealings that are fraudulent or illegal, the idea of reporting your concerns can be difficult to come to. This is usually out of fear for how taking action may result in negative consequences for the person who comes forward. The heroic action of reporting fraudulent activity against the federal government, can come with financial incentives should the case be successful.

Qui Tam Law (Whistleblower Statute)

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.

Under the False Claims Act, people have the ability to file cases on behalf of the government when they are able to provide evidence to support the claim. It is key to have legal representation from VA Qui Tam Attorneys, who have experience in representing whistleblowers. Not only may we be able to protect your rights, we can provide you with key insight into the steps surrounding your case.

The False Claims Act

The False Claims Act allows the American people to help protect the government against fraud. This act was enacted by Abraham Lincoln in 1862 and, to this day has become the most successful way of combating fraud. The False Claims Act allows for someone (usually an employee of the accused entity) to file a claim on behalf of the government. This gives people who have witnessed wrongdoings, the ability to take action against fraud. Past claims under The False Claims Act have included:

 

  • Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Healthcare
  • Military
  • Government Spending Programs

The False Claims Act is meant to change corruption within corporations by holding them liable when they have defrauded the government.

Whistleblower Defined

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. If you have recently witnessed illegal activity by an individual or entity, please consult with Qui Tam Attorneys in VA without hesitation. We can walk you through the next steps.

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.

Qui Tam/Financial Incentives

What makes The False Claims Act successful is because not only does it give people the ability to file complaints on behalf of the government without being a government employee. The government is required to investigate all claims that have been filed on their behalf. They will make a decision to either intervene in the case or decline, which allows the whistleblower to pursue the case without them should they choose.

Perhaps one of the most attractive pieces to this for a whistleblower is that a successful outcome can result in financial incentives. In successful cases, a whistleblower has the ability to obtain a percentage of the damages. A qui tam lawsuit can give a person the ability to obtain 15-30% of recovered damages.

For example, whistleblowers who brought a case against Pfizer for marketing Bextra will share damages of $51 million dollars. Cases that the government has decided to pursue, have a higher likelihood of a positive outcome for the whistleblower. 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.

Protections Vary by State

Although there can be certain protections in place for whistleblowers, there can be variations to how cases are managed by the courts depending on the state you live. If you have information about a government entity or company that you work for, it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney. Our team can advise you throughout the process and help keep your rights intact.

Contact Robert E. Byrne, Jr. at (434) 817-3100 for a free and confidential consultation if you have a possible whistleblower claim. The Qui Tam Attorneys based in Virginia at MartinWren, P.C. are skilled to help you stand up against anyone defrauding the government.

 

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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.

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