South Bend Qui Tam Lawyers
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Aug 31, 2021 in Consumer Protection
A private citizen with knowledge or evidence of fraud committed against the government may be eligible to initiate a whistleblower claim. Exposing violations of the False Claims Act in this way helps the U.S. government and protects tax dollars. Whistleblowers may also be able to recover compensation if their case is successful.
At Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak, we have experience with whistleblower lawsuits. Our South Bend whistleblower lawyers are ready to review your situation and any evidence you have, so we can determine the merit of your case. This initial consultation is completely free and confidential, and you are under no obligation to file a claim.
Learn more by calling (844) 678-1800 today.
How You May Benefit from Hiring an Attorney
Our whistleblower lawyers understand the risks that whistleblowers, also called relators, take when they expose fraud against the government. We take the confidentiality of our clients very seriously. No information about claims is ever shared or made public unless it becomes necessary under the law.
There are several ways hiring an attorney may benefit your claim, including:
- Evaluating the strength of your claim and accompanying evidence
- Answering your questions about the legal process
- Utilizing our resources, staff and experience to build a robust case
- Handling each step of your qui tam lawsuit
- Keeping you informed about the status of your lawsuit, including if your case will no longer be under seal
- Fighting to protect your eligibility to receive compensation as a qui tam whistleblower
- Making every effort to persuade the government to join your case, as this often increases a lawsuit’s chance of succeeding
- Ensuring you have all protections extended to you under the False Claims Act
What is the False Claims Act?
The False Claims Act was enacted in 1893. There have been multiple amendments to this law since the initial enactment, including the most recent amendments of 2009 and 2010. It is now considered the most effective antifraud law in the country.
What is Qui Tam and How Does it Relate to the False Claims Act?
Qui tam, a provision of the False Claims Act, enables a lawsuit to be brought by the whistleblower against the wrongdoer (the individual or company committing fraud) on behalf of the U.S. government.
Who Can Bring a Qui Tam Claim?
Any person or persons with knowledge or evidence of fraudulent actions against the federal government can file a qui tam claim under the False Claims Act. The person bringing a qui tam claim is called a relator. A qui tam claim cannot be based on hearsay.
It is important to note that if another private citizen has already filed a qui tam lawsuit based on the same evidence, you cannot also file a lawsuit. In other words, for qui tam cases, the first person to file preempts all other would-be whistleblowers.
What Violations May Be Brought in a Qui Tam Lawsuit?
There are many different types of violations of the False Claims Act, including acts of fraud where the wrongdoer:
- Knowingly overcharged the government for services or goods provided
- Sought a government contract under false pretenses
- Submitted a forged application for a government loan
- Knowingly submitted a fake or fraudulent claim to the government for payment
- Submitted false information or statements on a U.S. customs form
- Knowingly received property from an individual who has no legal right to sell that property
How Am I Protected as a Whistleblower?
Qui tam whistleblowers receive certain protections for stepping forward to report acts of fraud against the government. Whistleblowers often are concerned about acts of retaliation, such as termination, threats, or other types of harassment, from co-workers or an employer. Although acts of retaliation are illegal, they do sometimes happen. The False Claims Act allows victims of retaliation to seek compensation for damages, including:
- Relief from harassment, suspension, termination or other threatening behavior
- Two times the amount of back pay lost after termination
- Interest on backpay
- Litigation costs and other reasonable attorney fees
- Reinstatement of employment, at the same level of seniority as before
- And more
Will My Lawsuit Be Made Public?
There are layers of confidentiality in a whistleblower qui tam, the first of which is attorney-client privilege. What you share with your attorney cannot be made public or told to others. The qui tam claim also cannot be made public because it is filed under seal. This additional protection means the qui tam whistleblower can file the lawsuit anonymously.
How Long Will My Qui Tam Case Be Confidential?
A qui tam case is only guaranteed to remain under seal for the first 60 days. There are some cases where that time may be extended by months, or even longer. Qui tam claims are often likely to remain under seal until the government concludes its investigation.
The South Bend whistleblower attorney representing you should keep you fully informed about the status of your qui tam claim, including whether it will remain under seal.
Compensation in a Whistleblower/Qui Tam Lawsuit
In addition to protections and confidentiality, there is also the possibility of receiving financial compensation for stepping forward to report acts fraud against the government. There are no guaranteed outcomes, and the amount of compensation you may be eligible to receive depends on whether the government intervenes in your case or not.
If your case is successful, but the government does not join your case, you may be eligible for 25 to 30 percent of any financial recovery. However, if the government does intervene in your case, the percentage of funds you may be eligible to receive is less, at 15 to 25 percent of any funds recovered. The upside of the government joining your case is your case may be more likely to succeed. If the government joins, it likely means they think you have a strong case.
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Whistleblower Claim?
Yes, there is a statute of limitations that applies to filing a qui tam lawsuit. Under the False Claims Act, a qui tam lawsuit must be filed either six years from the date when the violation occurred or three years after the date the government knew or should have known about it – whichever date is later.
The statute of limitations regarding qui tam claims is confusing. To avoid missing important deadlines, we recommend speaking with one of our qualified whistleblower attorneys to learn what deadline may apply to your situation.
Common Types of Whistleblower/Qui Tam Claims
Healthcare fraud is a big business - the Department of Justice recovered more than $3 billion in False Claims Act cases in 2019, and $2.6 billion of that recovery involved healthcare fraud.
However, healthcare fraud is not the only industry where fraud against the government occurs. Other types of False Claims Act cases may involve:
- Researchers seeking government-funded grants
- Federal student loans
- Tax fraud
- Mortgage schemes
- Government-backed pensions
- Defense contracts
- Energy development on government property
- Banking and investment schemes
Call to Schedule Your Free Consultation with a South Bend Whistleblower Lawyer
If you have evidence or knowledge of fraud against the government, Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak is ready to help. Our knowledgeable whistleblower lawyers are well-versed in the False Claims Act, and we know how to determine whether you may have a strong case. If we represent you, we are committed to working tirelessly to help ensure your claim has the best chance of succeeding.
Our qualified attorneys understand the risks you are taking and the sensitivity of the information you may share with us. We are committed to protecting your confidentiality. There is no cost or obligation for an initial consultation, and if we represent you, there are also no upfront costs to hire our services.
Set up a Risk-Free Consultation Today. (844) 678-1800