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What’s in it for the whistleblower: filing a qui tam action

If you know your employer is defrauding the government, it can pay to be the whistleblower—literally.

Under the False Claims Act (FCA), there are strict penalties for submitting fraudulent claims to the government. A “false claim” is any action that cheats, defrauds or steals from the government. Examples may include:

  • Improperly testing products
  • Overcharging the government
  • Creating untruthful reports about a product’s quality
  • Charging for services that were not provided

There is a provision under the FCA that rewards the average Joe or Jane for coming forward when they are aware of such fraud. As a whistleblower, you can file a qui tam action—a lawsuit aimed at helping the government recover money lost as a result of fraud. And you can do so confidentially, so there’s no concern about retaliation from your employer.

If the government wins the case, you share in the winnings. In order to win this type of case, it is not necessary to demonstrate that your employer knowingly committed fraud—only that it was committed.

Penalties for this type of fraud are steep. A conviction may result in as much as $10,000 in civil penalties and three times the amount of damages. As a whistleblower, you stand to receive between fifteen and thirty percent of the recovered funds, if the litigation is successful.

Fraud is a serious offense. If you know someone who has committed this crime, the government protects and rewards you for speaking up. An experienced qui tam attorney can walk you through the process of making a qui tam claim.

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