Qui tam actions: whistleblowers with real remedies

A collegue and I were recently discussing false claims against the government. If you’re aware of and fed up with abuse you should know there are remedies private citizens can pursue. Qui tam actions allow a private individual with knowledge of fraud against the federal government to file suit against the alleged wrongdoer(s) in the name of the government. The federal False Claims Act contains qui tam provisions that encourage private whistleblowers (known as relators) to file Medicare and Medicaid fraud lawsuits on behalf of the government. The federal False Claims Act allows the Department of Justice to investigate the claims and decide whether to intervene and assume responsibility for the suit. If the government intervenes, the whistleblower is entitled to between 15 and 25 percent of the damages recovered, depending on the extent the relator contributed to the case. If the government chooses not to intervene, the whistleblower can continue the case alone and is entitled to receive between 25 and 30 percent of damages awarded. There are similar statutes at the state level which encourage private individuals to pursue actions on behalf of the State.