What is a Qui Tam Action, Who can Bring One, and How the Employee is Paid Substanitally?
- Under the False Claims Practices act (FCA) an employee can sue his employer for defrauding the government.
- The employee steps into the shoes of the government to recover defrauded funds.
- Damages are three times the actual amount of the fraud under the statute.
- The whistleblower employee can be entitled to 15% to 30 % of the amount recovered.
- These actions can range from medical billing fruad of medicare and upcoding to selling supplies to government agencies from no eligible countries aka those that have reciprocal trade agreements.
What is a Qui Tam Action?
Under the false claims practices act (FCA) a whistleblower can bring a lawsuit independently on behalf of the United States government to recover money damages from parties or companies who are defrauding the United States government out of taxpayer money. These are called Qui Tam actions. In a quit him action, the eligible whistleblower is referred to as a relators and they are entitled to claim a percentage of any of the sons recovered by the government. Under the false claims practices act (FCA) a whistleblower can bring a lawsuit independently on behalf of the United States government to recover money damages from parties or companies who are defrauding the United States government out of taxpayer money. These are called Qui Tam actions. In a quick Tim action, the eligible whistleblower is referred to as a relay tour and they are entitled to claim a percentage of any of the funds recovered by the government. If you believe that you are a witness to government fraud and would like to file quickly Tam lawsuit, you need to reach out to an attorney. Quit and lawsuits are not like other ordinary litigation. They have very different procedural rules and the underlying law and regulations can be very complex.
Special Rules for Qui Tam Actions?
If you believe that you are a witness to government fraud and would like to file quickly tam lawsuit, you need to reach out to an attorney. Qui Tam lawsuits are not like other ordinary litigation. They have very different procedural rules and the underlying law and regulations can be very complex.
There are important terms to know if you are considering filing a qua tam action
What is the False Claims Act?
Under corporate law, the False Claims Act FCA can be found at 31 US C section 3729 and was passed in 1863 in response to the defrauding the funds by the union army during the Civil War. The FCA is the foundation of the United States whistleblower program and is commonly used statute employed by Qui Tam lawyers to allow the relators to report fraud and misconduct against the United States government by companies and large businesses.
The false claims act FCA can be found at 31 USC sections 3729 and was passed in 1863 in response to the defrauding of funds by the union army during the Civil War. The FCA is the foundation of the United States whistleblower program and is commonly used statute employed by Qui Tam lawyers to allow the relators to report (the term for the employee) fraud and misconduct against the United States government. https://downloads.cms.gov/cmsgov/archived-downloads/SMDL/downloads/SMD032207Att2.pdf
What is a qua tam lawsuit?
FINRA attorney, Lisa Bragança explains under the False Claims Act, private citizens are allowed to sue fraudsters on behalf of the United States government. This type of lawsuit is called a Qui Tam action. The words Qui Tam (generally pronounced as KEE TAM), are Latin and derive from the phrase that means “he who sues on our lord on the kings behalf as well as his own.” (a general translation)
Who are the relators?
Under the False Claims Act, the relator is what whistleblowers are often referred to in the context of false claims act cases. In a Qui Tam action, the relater is the person who relates the information of the fraud which the lawsuit is based on.
How Much Money can the Employee Recover?
Under the False Claims Act the government may seek treble damages which means damages in the amount of three times the actual amount of the losses. The relater a.k.a. whistleblower are typically awarded between 15 and 30% of the damages that are recovered. This can be a substantial amount.
Examples of Qui Tam Actions
- Failure to Comply with US Trade Agreements
When a company receives a government contract they must certify that they have complied with the US Trade Agreement Act. This means the vendor must only sell products to the US government that are substantially made in eligible countries which are considered those countries that have reciprocal trade agreements with United States. Such eligible countries include Canada, Mexico, England, France, and Japan. Specific countries that are not eligible include China, Taiwan, Malaysia, and South Africa. In a recent Qui Tam action, a whistleblower brought suit under the False Claims Act against five companies that paid a total of $30 million to settle the False Claims Act claims when they sold products to the US government not permitted under the agreement. Those companies included Corporate Office Express Products who paid $5 million, OfficeMax who paid $9.8 million, Office Depot who paid $4.75 million, Staples who paid $7.4 million.
- Up coding of Medical Charges
Up coding means when a healthcare provider submits a code for services provided for a more serious and expensive condition or procedure then was actually performed on the patient and submits these charges to Medicare or Medicaid on behalf of the patient. This is considered a fraud of Medicare and Medicaid. As some examples, in 2014 Care All Management ,LLC, which is a Tennessee based home health provider, pay $25 million to the United States government to settle allegations that it up coded home health Billings to Medicare and Medicaid. Another example is Endogastric Solutions which was a Washington-based medical device manufacturer which return $5.2 million to the federal government in 2014 to settle up coding allegations. The basis of the suit was that device could be implanted via two different procedures, one which was more expensive than the other and the company consistently promoted the more expensive procedure.
- Mortgage Fraud
Another Qui Tam action that has been brought is when the mortgage company or lender provides false information to the FHA. Recently, a company formally known as Prism Mortgage paid $10.7 million to the United States government in a Qui Tam action where it was alleged the company provided false information to the FHA regarding the credit history of borrowers and employment history in 219 loan applications. All of those loan applications resulted in foreclosure.
- Fraud in Construction Projects
Fraud in construction projects includes practices by contractors that include overcharging for contracts and failing to follow project specifications. There have been multiple high dollar Qui Tam actions brought in the construction industry. For example, a large construction company in Boston admitted that it had violated the terms of its contract and failed to oversee the safe and proper construction of the I -90 connector tunnel when it new bolts were failing to withstand the load of the ceiling panels. The collapse of that tunnel killed a woman in a car in 2006 and the company paid $407 million. Of that settlement $23 million went to the federal government to settle the Qui Tam action brought by one of the employees
- Examples of Medicare Fraud
There are many examples of Medicare and Medicaid fraud that include billing for brand-name prescription drugs when generics are used. In addition pharmacies have been found to fill prescriptions for Medicare from doctors that did not exist or a doctors have been found to accept bribes in exchange for prescribing specific drugs in the form of manufactures rebates. In addition, billing for services not rendered, patients not scene, services not performed or more expensive services are all examples of Medicare or Medicaid fraud.
If You are an Employee with Knowledge of Fraud, Call Us Today
These are just a few of many examples of Qui Tam actions that have been brought by whistleblower employees against the federal government and recovered millions of dollars of damages defrauded from government agencies. If you are employee who believes that there is such a fraud going on by your employer, please contact our office today to discuss your potential whistleblower claim. In these actions the employee raising the fraud and bringing the action can receive 15% to 30% of the total damage award for bringing such fraud to the government’s attention and pursuing the action
At TheOneLawyer.com, we are here to serve our community and provide legal services in the Henderson and Las Vegas area. If you believe your employer is defrauding the United States Government and would like to bring a Qui Tam action, call our office immediately. We are a boutique law firm providing experienced and personal representation to injured clients. At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer.com we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law. If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please don’t hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years. Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers. She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve. Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured. We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.
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