It is not so uncommon anymore to hear about big businesses scamming the federal government. The False Claims Act (“FCA”), also known as the “qui tam” is a statute that is designed to protect the government from fraudulent behavior. The origins of this act can be traced back to the American Civil War (1861-1865). Essentially, then, a number of contractors were regularly defrauding the government by providing defective supplies to the Union military. The idea was to give private citizens the right to file a lawsuit on behalf of the government. These people are often called “reliators” as they relate fraudulent activity to the government’s attention. Informally, these individuals are also known as “whistleblowers” when the individual is employed by the very organization being accused of committing the fraud.
The term “Qui tam” is actually an abbreviation of the Latin phrase “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur”, which essentially means "he who sues in this matter for the king as well as for himself." Through this statute, an individual, acting on behalf of the U.S. government, can sue the defrauder and share a percentage of any damages or penalties that are recovered. The government passed this act based on the old-fashioned notion that, with a little financial interest, the government might be able to incentivize “a rogue to catch a rogue”. The FCA has become, without question, one of the government’s most powerful statutes against those who attempt to defraud the federal government. Since those early days in the Civil War, the FCA has been instrumental in returning over $13 billion back to the coffers of the U.S. Treasury.
The attorneys at the Packard Law Firm have significant experience prosecuting qui tam litigation. These cases are extremely complex and require an attorney to have absolute command over the law and facts of the case in order to advocate your case adequately. Our law firm represents whistleblowers throughout the nation on a contingency fee basis. This means that the firm will only charge a fee if it is successful for the whistleblower.