False Claims Act, Whistleblowers


Table of Contents

  1. What is a Qui Tam Action?
  2. Can a private plaintiff receive money for bringing a Qui Tam Action?
  3. What kind of actions are covered by the False Claims Act?
  4. What damages can be awarded for violating the False Claims Act?
  5. What should I know about filing a Qui Tam Action?

What is a Qui Tam Action?

A Qui Tam Action is brought under the False Claims Act. A private person, termed a Plaintiff, files the action on behalf of the Federal Government. In this type of action the government has the right to intervene and join the action if it so chooses to do so. If the government does not join the action, the person bringing the suit may proceed on their own.

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Michigan contact AAAA Legal Center by Phone or E-Mail
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Can a private plaintiff receive money for bringing a Qui Tam Action?

Private plaintiffs can receive money for bringing a Qui Tam Action when it is filed and there is a subsequent settlement or favorable judgment which enables a private party to receive a recovery under the False Claims Act.

In order to be eligible to recover money under the False Claim Act a plaintiff must file a Qui Tam lawsuit. The plaintiff only receives an award if and after the government recovers money from the defendant as a result of the action.

A plaintiff can receive between fifteen (15%) percent and thirty (30%) percent of the total recovery from the defendant through a favorable judgment or settlement. If the government joins the law suit brought by the plaintiff, the plaintiff is eligible to receive at least fifteen (15%) percent, but not more than twenty-five (25%) percent of the recovery depending upon the plaintiff’s contribution to the prosecution of the action.

If the government does not join the action and the plaintiff proceeds with the action, the plaintiff can receive between twenty-five (25%) percent and thirty (30%) percent of the recovery.

If you have a question regarding a legal matter in the state of
Michigan contact AAAA Legal Center by Phone or E-Mail
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(E-Mail transmissions are not confidential)


What kind of actions are covered by the False Claims Act?

Common violations of the False Claims Act are as follows:

1. Conspiring to defraud the Federal Government by a false or fraudulent claim allowed or paid.

2. Knowingly making or causing to be made a false record or statement to conceal, avoid or decrease an obligation to pay or transmit property to the Federal Government.

3. Knowingly making or causing to be made a false record or statement to get a false or fraudulent claim paid or approved by the Federal Government.

4. Knowingly submitting or causing the submission of false or fraudulent claims for payment of Federal Government funds.

The False Claims Act also covers other activities. The most common activities have been government contracts such as Department of Defense contracts. Health care fraud has also been a subject of False Claims Act activity.

The False Claims Act has a specific provision which excludes tax fraud from its coverage.

If you have a question regarding a legal matter in the state of
Michigan contact AAAA Legal Center by Phone or E-Mail
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(E-Mail transmissions are not confidential)


What damages can be awarded for violating the False Claims Act?

Those found violating the False Claims Act can be liable for three (3) times the dollar amount that the government is defrauded. This is referred to as "treble damages". In addition, there are civil penalties of Five Thousand ($5,000.00) dollars to Ten Thousand ($10,000.00) dollars for each false claim available.

If you have a question regarding a legal matter in the state of
Michigan contact AAAA Legal Center by Phone or E-Mail
MAIL US
(E-Mail transmissions are not confidential)


What should I know about filing a Qui Tam Action?

Under the False Claims Act an action must be filed within the later of the following two (2) time periods; 1.) six (6) years from the date of the violation of the Act, or 2.) three (3) years after the government knows or should have known about the violation, but in no event longer than ten (10) years after the violation of the Act.

It should be noted that at least one (1) district court has interpreted the Act to require that actions be filed within the six (6) year rather than the ten (10) year period. If someone else files a False Claims Act suit before you do regarding the same claim you will loose your right to file the Qui Tam.

You may inform the government before filing the Qui Tam law suit. If the government, however, files a Qui Tam action before you do, you will have lost your right to file a Qui Tam suit. Accordingly, the preferable method is to immediately discuss this matter with your attorney.

It is important to keep in mind that if someone else should discover the facts concerning your potential False Claims Act action and file a suit under the Act before you do, you will loose your right to sue. It is important to keep the information secret so that no one else can proceed before you have an opportunity to do so. This fact should be kept in mind when communicating with an attorney. It is suggested that the facts concerning a False Claims Act should not be communicated over an insecure transmission, such as e-mail.

If you have a question regarding a legal matter in the state of
Michigan contact AAAA Legal Center by Phone or E-Mail
MAIL US
(E-Mail transmissions are not confidential)


Copyright 2001, 2002
Last modified: February 11, 2010