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 relator is a term for a plaintiff filing a qui tam action.
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 experienced counsel who has worked closely with United States attorney office.
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
- False Claims Act, which allows individuals to file “qui tam” lawsuits and collect a financial reward upon winning the lawsuit
- IRS guidelines regarding rewards provided to tax whistleblowers who report tax fraud or other unlawful payment or collection schemes
- 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
- 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 A Texas Federal False Claims Act Attorney
To speak with a lawyer 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.