Whistleblower Actions Can Lead to Qui Tam Lawsuits in Augusta
A qui tam action is a type of litigation that one or more whistleblowers, who are the primary plaintiffs, bring forward to alert the federal or state government to fraudulent business practices that abuse laws or mishandle federal dollars. The term “qui tam” comes from a longer Latin phrase qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur, which means “he who sues in this matter for the king as well as himself.” Whistleblowers who file qui tam lawsuits hope that the federal government will join the suit as a plaintiff.
The False Claims Act is the American law that allows whistleblowers to bring fraudulent business practices to the federal government’s attention. The law was bolstered with additional protections for whistleblowers in 1986, but a whistleblower must still meet certain criteria in order for the qui tam lawsuit to be accepted by the federal government.
Specific Whistleblower Requirements for South Carolina Qui Tam Lawsuits
In order to legitimately file a qui tam lawsuit, a whistleblower must meet the following criteria:
- The whistleblower must have first-hand knowledge of the fraud, and have evidence to support it. Whistleblowers cannot rely on hearsay about fraudulent actions against the federal government from coworkers; the whistleblower must have seen the fraud first-hand, and have evidence providing the “who, what, when, and where” to present at the trial.
- Publically disclosed information regarding fraudulent business practices is insufficient. Just because you see or hear information through a news broadcast, or news write-up, does not mean you can use that as evidence for qui tam litigation. You must bring additional information in order to file a qui tam lawsuit.
- Federal or state money must be involved. This means that the fraud must involve misused money with government contractors, healthcare fraud, or another type of fraud in which the federal government loses money, except –
- The fraudulent business practices may not be tax fraud. There are separate laws that govern tax fraud lawsuits, so the fraudulent practices against the government may not be tax fraud in a qui tam lawsuit.
My Employer Has Committed Fraud Against the Government and I Want to File A Qui Tam Lawsuit
Although you can file a whistleblower or qui tam lawsuit yourself, this is a complex type of litigation and you could wait years before the federal government joins your action. Get help with this complicated lawsuit. If you live in South Carolina or Georgia, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can offer a free consultation to discuss the facts of your qui tam lawsuit.