The federal False Claims Act permits a whistleblower or relator to file a qui tam lawsuit against a defendant for defrauding the federal government. The term qui tam refers to a Latin phrase, meaning that the person sues on behalf of himself or herself and the government.
A qui tam lawsuit in Houston refers to a legal action brought under the False Claims Act (FCA), which allows private individuals, known as “relators,” to sue on behalf of the government for alleged fraud committed against government programs or contracts. A relator is a term for a plaintiff filing a qui tam action.
Do You Need a Texas Whistleblower Lawyer?
In Houston, qui tam lawsuits can be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. These lawsuits are usually brought by whistleblowers who have knowledge of fraudulent activity in the workplace, such as overbilling, kickbacks, false certifications, or other illegal activities that result in financial loss to the government. The FCA allows the relator to receive a portion of the recovery in a successful qui tam lawsuit. If you believe you have information about fraud committed against the government in Houston, you should contact a whistleblower attorney to file a qui tam lawsuit to seek justice and financial compensation.
Qui tam lawsuits are filed under seal so that the government may conduct its own investigation without the defendant knowing of the filing. If the government joins the lawsuit, the case is unsealed, and the government and relator jointly prosecute the case. Interestingly, a qui tam action may proceed only via the first filer. Thus, timing is critical to filing, and a case must be filed within six years of the alleged fraud.
Often, qui tam actions have complicated venue issues and, of course, complexities in understanding the myriad fraud schemes. Due to various factors, these cases often take years and sometimes decades to resolve. Thus, it is critical to engage with a team of experienced Houston whistleblower attorneys who have worked closely with the United States attorney’s office.
It’s important to note that in order to file a whistleblower lawsuit, the individual must have information about the wrongdoing and meet certain eligibility criteria. An experienced attorney can help determine if a case is eligible for a whistleblower lawsuit.
There are several types of whistleblower lawsuits in Houston. Some common types include:
- False Claims Act lawsuits: these lawsuits involve individuals who report fraud or abuse in government programs, such as Medicare or defense contracts.
- SEC Whistleblower Program lawsuits: these lawsuits are related to securities fraud and violations of securities laws, and are reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
- OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program lawsuits: these lawsuits are related to retaliation against employees who report workplace safety violations.
- Consumer Protection lawsuits: these lawsuits involve individuals reporting deceptive or fraudulent business practices that harm consumers.
- Pharmaceutical whistleblower cases related to reporting on fraudulent billing practices and other unlawful activities
- Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims for those who provide “original information” regarding a securities violation
Find out more about these related topics:
- Philip Hilder: The Whistleblowers’ Advocate, an article highlighting attorney Hilder’s success in handling white-collar criminal matters
- IRS guidelines regarding rewards provided to tax whistleblowers who report tax fraud or other unlawful payment or collection schemes.
- Hilder & Associates, P.C.‘s high-profile cases that include representation of Sherron Watkins, the Enron whistleblower and other notable cases
- Philip Hilder’s article Don’t Shoot the Messenger, which condemns the practice of scapegoating whistleblowers
Contact Our Experienced Houston Attorneys, Dedicated to Helping Whistleblowers
To speak with a Houston, Texas whistleblower attorney from Hilder & Associates, P.C., about a potential whistleblower claim, please contact us online to schedule a consultation at our Houston law office. You can also call us toll-free at 888-659-8742 or locally at 713-234-1416. It is recommended that you seek the advice of a skilled qui tam attorney to guide you through the process and protect your rights.