Fraud is a widespread problem across our nation. From identity theft to financial scams, most people have been a target or fallen victim to one of these deceitful acts. Now more than ever, it’s important to be diligent and aware of the potential for fraud in nearly every interaction.
Fraudulent activities extend beyond targeting individuals—many times, fraud is committed against the government. These acts can easily go unnoticed due to the government’s vast responsibilities. However, when fraudulent activities occur and the government is scammed out of funds, it’s ultimately taxpayers and our communities that suffer the consequences.
Qui tam attorneys work to prevent fraud against the government and seek justice when companies take advantage of taxpayer funds. In this blog, we will discuss everything you should know about qui tam litigation and when you should consider hiring a qui tam attorney in Kansas City.
The History of Qui Tam
The term “qui tam” is derived from a Latin phrase that translates to “he who sues on behalf of the king as well as for himself.” This idea has been around for a long time—it originated in English common law during the Middle Ages, when individuals were encouraged to pursue legal actions on behalf of the crown.
The False Claims Act
The concept of quit tam was incorporated in the United States legal system through the False Claims Act. Enacted during the Civil War in 1863, this act allowed private citizens to bring forward lawsuits against those defrauding the government.
The False Claims Act was essential during the Civil War because fraud was running rampant. Private contractors were overcharging the government for faulty or non-existent goods, undermining the war effort and draining government funds. President Lincoln enacted this law as a protective measure against fraudulent practices.
While there have been revisions and amendments to the False Claims Act since its original enactment, its essential purpose remains the same. The law allows (and encourages) individuals with knowledge of government fraud to file lawsuits on the government’s behalf.
Qui Tam Provisions
Within the False Claims Act, the qui tam provisions allow private individuals (known as “whistleblowers”) to:
- File lawsuits regarding government fraud
- Receive financial rewards if fraud is proven
- Bring forward lawsuits without fear of retaliation or discrimination by their employer (or the entity accused of fraud)
The qui tam provisions also allow the government to decide if they want to join or “intervene” in the lawsuit, taking the lead role in litigation. If the government decides not to intervene, the whistleblower and their qui tam attorney can proceed independently with the case.
When to Hire a Qui Tam Attorney
When is the right time to hire a qui tam attorney in Kansas City? In most cases, the answer is sooner rather than later. If you have suspicions or evidence of fraudulent activities against the government, consulting a qualified qui tam attorney as soon as possible will:
- Give you insights into potential challenges and the likelihood of success of your case
- Ensure crucial evidence is collected and preserved
- Ensure all deadlines and statutes of limitations are met
- Ensure you have legal protection from potential retaliation
- Help optimize the compensation you will receive if the case succeeds
- Allow time for strategic planning, improving the chances of success for your case
- Increase the likelihood that you will secure justice and play a role in ending fraudulent activity
Why You Should Hire a Qui Tam Attorney
If you know of an individual or company committing fraud against the government, a qui tam attorney in Kansas City can help to:
Ensure You Receive a Financial Reward
The law allows whistleblowers to earn a percentage of the recovered funds from these cases. The percentage you may receive can range from 15% to 30%, depending on the case. In general, the more work you do for the case, the larger the reward you will receive. A qualified qui tam attorney can fight for a larger reward on your behalf.
Protect You Against Retaliation
As part of the False Claims Act, your employer cannot seek retaliation against you for reporting fraud. Examples of this type of retaliation include:
- Terminating your employment
- Demoting your role in the company
- Harassment or other discriminatory measures
If an employer does take any of these actions, it is punishable with further damages. Your attorney can help reconcile these actions to get your job back, get you double back pay, and/or hold the responsible party accountable for any further damages that resulted from the discrimination.
Protect Your Anonymity
As a whistleblower, you can remain anonymous during the initial stages of a case. When the case is filed, only the government and your attorneys will know about it. Your qui tam attorney can help you maintain this anonymity as the investigations start.
When companies take advantage of government funding, it can have detrimental effects on our communities and society at large. By working with a qualified qui tam attorney, you can help further efforts to promote honesty and fairness in our country. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it is well worth the time and effort in the end.
What to Look for in a Qui Tam Attorney
Choosing an attorney for your case isn’t a decision you should take lightly. Some of these cases can take years, so it’s crucial to find the right attorney from the start. You want to look for the following qualities in your attorney:
Not every attorney is equipped to handle qui tam litigation. This is a very specialized and complex legal action that requires extensive experience in this area of law. It’s important to find an attorney with experience in qui tam litigation without government intervention.
Related: Qui Tam Lawsuit in Kansas City
Resources and Support
Due to the complexity of qui tam litigation, these cases are often a team effort. You’ll want to find an attorney and a firm with a strong team of connections. From experts to investigators to paralegals, your attorney must have a strong team to work with.
Trust and Compatibility
Finding an honest, ethical attorney and firm with a steady hand is crucial for the success of your case. You may be working with this team for years upon years, so you’ll want to feel good about the partnership before pursuing the case.
Finding a firm with a no-cost consultation can help you determine if they are a good fit for you and your goals.
Frequently Asked Questions About Qui Tam Litigation
We understand that the idea of a lawsuit can be overwhelming—especially when it’s on behalf of the government. To better help you understand the intricacies of this process, here are some of the most frequently asked questions we encounter about qui tam litigation:
Are there risks to pursuing qui tam cases?
All litigation carries risk. However, so long as the lawsuit is not motivated by revenge and is grounded in fact, in most cases, retaliation is prohibited. The biggest risk, even though it is punished by additional damages, is that the whistleblower will lose their job.
How much of a reward can I expect to receive?
Whistleblowers can receive between 15% and 30%. In one recent case, the whistleblower received $279 million.
What types of industries do qui tam cases usually involve?
Government fraud can occur in any industry, but some sectors are more prone to it than others. The most common industries for these cases include:
- Healthcare programs (such as Medicare and Medicaid)
- Defense and military contracting
- Research and grants
- Postal-related cases
Contact Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader if You Need a Trusted Qui Tam Attorney in Kansas City
If you know of fraud against the government, it’s important to find an experienced Qui Tam attorney to handle your case.
When we represent a client under the False Claims Act, we devote the time, resources, and experience for the best possible result. Our attorneys are dedicated to investigating cases the right way—by methodically working through each case to seek justice and get you the highest possible reward.
The above is not intended to be legal advice. Each individual case is different and must be analyzed on its own set of facts and circumstances. If you believe you may have a case, it is critically important that you timely contact a lawyer to ensure your rights are protected.