Fraud against the federal government is committed in a variety of ways. If you are an employee of an individual or company that defrauds the federal government, then you have a right under the Federal Civil False Claims Act (FCA) to bring a lawsuit against your employer on behalf of the government and yourself. This kind of civil action is called a qui tam claim. Let's briefly discuss why and how qui tam lawsuits are filed.
When a company contracts with the federal government, the company must be honest about pricing, as well as how and when goods or services are provided. Unfortunately, sometimes companies present false pricing data while a contract is being negotiated, or companies never deliver the goods or services promised. When employees notice this kind of fraud, they can bring a qui tam claim against the employer and potentially receive a significant portion of the money recovered through the lawsuit.
The person, private interest group, corporation or public interest group that makes a qui tam claim is called the "relator" -- or whistleblower. Qui tam claims are time-sensitive, so a relator should file the claim promptly for a successful result. An attorney with experience in this kind of legal action can help file the claim and meet all procedural requirements.
Depending on whether the Department of Justice chooses to litigate the case, a whistleblower who files a qui tam claim could be awarded 15 to 25 percent of the money recovered. If the DOJ chooses not to intervene, then a whistleblower may still litigate and win, in which case the whistleblower could be awarded 25 to 30 percent of recovered sum.
At Serrins Fisher LLP, we help employees blow the whistle on employers' fraudulent actions. For a closer look at qui tam claims, please visit our False Claims Act overview.