Overview of the False Claims Act
Of all the whistleblower laws, the federal False Claims Act is easily the most popular. The False Claims Act was enacted during the civil war by Abraham Lincoln as a fraud prevention measure. This whistleblower law imposes civil (monetary) liability on individuals and companies who submit false claims to the federal government, and/or through their conduct cause others to submit false claims to the government.
Please see our False Claims Act Whistleblower Blog for more information about whistleblower lawsuits.
What is Qui Tam?
Whistleblower lawsuits filed under the federal False Claims Act are known as “qui tam lawsuits.” Whistleblower lawsuits are called this because of the qui tam provision of the civil False Claims Act. The qui tam provision allows a private citizens to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the federal government against those who have defrauded the government and its programs. Basically, the civil False Claims Act’s qui tam provision deputizes whistleblowers and their whistleblower attorneys to recover funds on behalf of the federal government. Indeed, even in cases where the federal government decides not to intervene (i.e. join the lawsuit) the qui tam provision allows a private party to push forward with the litigation.
Obviously, and similarly to almost every other whistleblower law, those who are found civilly liable under the federal False Claims Act must repay all monies it fraudulently obtained. In addition, the federal False Claims Act penalty provision allows the government to recover treble damages (i.e. triple its losses) and imposes a civil penalty of $5,500 to $11,000 for each false claim submitted.
Of all the whistleblower laws, the civil False Claims Act has been one of the federal government’s most effective tools in combating fraud, especially health care fraud and abuse. Whistleblowers and whistleblower attorneys have worked with the federal government to recover billions of dollars through whistleblower’s qui tam lawsuits under the civil False Claims Act.
The False Claims Act Statute of Limitations
The federal False Claims Act statute of limitations for qui tam action provides that a federal whistleblower’s lawsuit shall not be brought:
- More than six years after the False Claims Act Violation occurred; or
- More than 3 years after the government officials responsible for enforcement of the False Claims Act in such circumstances learn the material facts of the violation, but the action may never be filed more than ten years after the False Claims Act violation.
For more information about whistleblower lawsuits under the civil False Claims Act, please see the following information:
- Whistleblower Rewards Under the False Claims Act
- Filing a Whistleblower Lawsuit Under the False Claims Act
No Fees Without Recovery
Ross M. Wolfe and the Weiser Law Firm litigate whistleblower lawsuits on a contingent fee basis, so whistleblowers do not pay attorneys’ fees or court costs unless there is a recovery.
Please contact Ross M. Wolfe if you would like to speak with a whistleblower attorney for more information about the whistleblower process or to schedule a free consultation to confidentially discuss your potential case.