An Overview of Qui Tam and Why Whistleblowers Need Attorneys
In the Fiscal Year 2019 alone, individuals filed 633 qui tam lawsuits, an average of more than 12 cases a week, and the Department of Justice recovered over $3 billion from False Claims Act cases. Qui tam cases are lawsuits in which an individual reports fraud by an individual or corporation perpetrated against the federal or state government, which results in the United States government or a state government losing money. Individuals filing claims against individuals and companies, also known as whistleblowers, need legal representation to ensure a successful outcome in their case. Here, the Maryland qui tam attorneys at Peter Angelos Law provide an overview of qui tam and how to file a qui tam suit.
The Most Common Type of Corporate Fraud Includes Health Care Fraud
A significant number of qui tam cases are aimed at exposing corporate healthcare fraud that drastically increases health care costs to the government and negatively impacts patients. For example, two of the most significant recoveries involving the health care industry in FY 2019 included large opioid manufacturers, one of which paid a substantial $195 million settlement due to allegations that it incentivized increased opioid prescription by paying kickbacks to influence physicians and nurse practitioners to prescribe the controlled substance Subsys (fentanyl) to their patients. Cases such as this made up the over 600 qui tam cases filed last year.
Qui Tam, a Provision Under the False Claims Act, Empowers Citizens to Expose Fraud
Private citizens have the power to file claims against cooperative organizations involved in health care fraud, procurement fraud, falsified research, embezzlement and more, if they have firsthand knowledge of these entities partaking in such fraudulent activity. These whistleblowers or relators can file their complaints on behalf of the United States government “under seal,” meaning that the investigation that follows will remain private. The False Claims Act holds any individual, organization or entity liable for both illegally avoiding or receiving payments from the government. The Maryland Whistleblower Law protects whistleblowers from corporate retaliation—these protections are necessary to protect whistleblowers filing a legitimate qui tam suit from being fired, demoted or otherwise negatively affected by retaliation from their company or organization. For more detail on whistleblower laws in Maryland, click here.
Whistleblowers May Be Entitled to a Portion of the Financial Recovery in a Successful Suit
A whistleblower, with the counsel of their attorney, may file claims with either the Department of Justice or the Attorney General if they have knowledge of past or present fraudulent activity against the United States government by a person or corporation. By assisting in the prosecution, whistleblowers can collect a portion of the damages recovered by the United States Government. Once a whistleblower files a suit under the False Claims Act, the government will then have 60 days to investigate the complaint made by the relator. While a whistleblower’s financial awards may vary depending on the case, the total amount can often range from 15 to 25 percent of the total recovery, with the U.S. government often assuming the role of the primary plaintiff in the case.
If You Have Knowledge of Corporate Wrongdoings, Consult our Qui Tam Attorneys at Peter Angelos Law
In qui tam litigation, it is often one citizen exposing a large and powerful entity with the legal and financial means to retaliate. That is why it is imperative to have skilled legal counsel, such as the Baltimore qui tam attorneys at Peter Angelos Law, to provide you legal protection and ensure you get the monetary award you deserve in a successful outcome. Contact the qui tam attorneys at the Law Offices of Peter Angelos Law for a free evaluation of your claims. Our firm has a tradition of service to our clients, and a history of success.