Qui Tam Whistleblower Litigation

Qui Tam Whistleblower North CarolinaIn a whistleblower, or “Qui Tam,” action, a private citizen can file a claim on behalf of the Federal or State Government for false billing or other frauds against the Government — and the citizen is entitled to a percentage of the recovery as a reward. A successful Qui Tam lawsuit can yield compensation to the whistleblower, known as the “relator,” of 15 to 30 percent of the total amount of damages recovered by the government. Since 1986, the Federal Government alone has recovered over $27 billion in Qui Tam actions.

Qui Tam litigation is highly technical and requires legal counsel with expertise in working with State and Federal prosecutors to ensure you get the reward you’re entitled to for your courageous act of exposing fraud. The relator will only recover compensation if the complex statutory requirements of the False Claims Act are followed.

At the law firm of Zaytoun & Ballew, we’ve represented numerous physicians and other health care employees who’ve come forward to expose substantial Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Qui Tam litigation, however, is not limited to the healthcare industry, but may exist in other professional settings — such as securities or tax fraud, or situations where the Government is being overcharged for goods or services. During the course of Qui Tam litigation, the Raleigh NC whistleblower attorneys at Zaytoun & Ballew fight to protect our clients from retaliation from employers for their honesty and bravery in exposing fraudulent billing practices.

History of Qui Tam Litigation

The term “Qui Tam” is Latin and comes from the phrase “Qui tam pro domino rege quam pro si ipso in hac parte sequitur,” which means “Who sues on behalf of the King, as well as for himself.” The Federal False Claims Act, with its Qui Tam provision, dates back to 1863 and is also known as “Lincoln’s Law” because it was enacted to combat fraud by federal defense suppliers during the Civil War.  Today, it remains the federal law by which an individual, or “whistleblower,” with insider knowledge of fraudulent billing against a governmental agency may bring a legal action on behalf of the federal government.

North Carolina recently added the State False Claims Act, a similar statute that became effective on January 1, 2010. Under this law, someone who knowingly defrauds the State may be liable for three times the damages incurred, plus the cost of recovery, including attorney’s fees, and an additional civil penalty.

The Qui Tam Process

The Federal and State False Claim Acts have very similar procedures for whistleblower claims:

  • Any person who knows of government fraud may bring a claim on behalf of the defrauded government or agency.
  • The State or Federal Attorney Generals’ Offices can step in to prosecute the claim, but they are not required to intervene.
  • If the government chooses not to intervene, the whistleblower may be allowed to continue prosecuting the matter on the government’s behalf and can receive a higher percentage of the recovery.

Both the federal and state statutes make it illegal for employers to retaliate against the whistleblower or relator, and additional actions against employers for retaliation can result in reinstatement, double back pay with interest, costs and attorney’s fees. Despite these statutory protections, a relator could still potentially suffer personal or professional ramifications from employers or fellow employees by filing a Qui Tam claim. Filing this type of claim is an act of courage and valor.

If you become aware of government fraud, contact the experienced Raleigh Qui Tam whistleblower attorneys at Zaytoun & Ballew.