What is `Qui Tam’ and Why Should You Care?

If you are not a lawyer, the term “qui tam” is likely as common to you as some of the nitty-gritty medical terms doctors use in the operating room. You don’t need to know those terms, you just need to know the professional you hire knows them well.

The legal term “qui tam,” however, should be of some interest to the general public in that it means that any private person who helps provide information that helps to secure a successful prosecution of charges is entitled to receive some or part of the penalty imposed on the defendant(s). This is especially applicable in False Claims Act cases, where whistleblowers often come forward with information that can prove someone is trying to defraud a government entity.

In the United States, whistleblowers routinely help the government in fraud cases when they have knowledge of current or past activities that attempted or succeeded in bilking the U.S. government. A common example is when an employee in a medical device firm finds out that the company is submitting double bills to Medicare for products sold.

Now, under the False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. §§ 3729–3733) the informant must not be affiliated with the government if they are planning to “blow the whistle” on vendors who are doing business with the government. The whistleblower (also known as a relator) doesn’t have to have been personally harmed by the fraud, just knowledgeable about it enough to help the government prove its case. If the relator is successful in helping the government recover funds, he or she is entitled to a portion of the recovered money. If the government was involved in the prosecution of the case, the whistleblower may receive up to about 25 percent of funds recovered – which, in government fraud cases, can be millions of dollars. If the government decided not to pursue the case, but the relator decides to bring the case on their own, and is successful, they are entitled up to 30 percent of funds recovered.

If you believe you have knowledge of fraud against the government, contact the experienced qui tam lawyers at Begelman & Orlow, P. C.. We represent whistleblowers from across the United States and we will protect your rights if we do proceed with your case. Call our Cherry Hill, NJ offices today for a consultation.


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