If you have knowledge about a corporation or individual who is engaged in defrauding the government, you may be able to file a lawsuit under the qui tam — or so-called “whistleblower” — provisions of the federal False Claims Act and recover a portion of any damages collected by the federal government. The Mobile, Alabama, attorneys at Long & Long are dedicated to protecting the interests of whistleblowers who have the courage to stand up to those cheating the government and taxpayers.
If you have information about an individual, business, federal contractor or other organization committing fraud against the government, please call Long & Long at (877) 336-0776 for your free, confidential consultation with one of our knowledgeable lawyers.
Filing a Qui Tam Lawsuit
Qui tam cases are filed in federal court by the accusing individual on behalf of the government and they are bound by rules established in the False Claims Act. Qui tam lawsuits are filed “under seal,” meaning they are confidential.
Initially, the person or agency accused of fraud will not be informed of the lawsuit or the name of the accuser. The case is kept under seal for at least 60 days (although this period may be extended) as the government investigates the claims and gathers evidence.
Once the government completes its investigation, it will decide whether to join your case. If the government believes there is sufficient evidence and chooses to participate, the litigation will be conducted jointly with your attorney and the government’s lawyer. If the government declines, you may still pursue the case with your attorney.
The Importance of Swift Action in Whistleblower Cases
If you’re considering a qui tam case, it’s important to act quickly. The False Claims Act stipulates that only the first person to file a whistleblower lawsuit can proceed with the case and collect monetary damages.
Therefore, if someone else with similar knowledge of fraud files a qui tam lawsuit before you, you will lose your opportunity to recover compensation. The federal False Claims Act also imposes statutes of limitations on whistleblower claims, which may be from three to 10 years based on the circumstances of the violation.
Whistleblower Lawsuit Damages
If your qui tam case is successful, you can receive between 15 and 30 percent of the monetary damages, depending on whether the government has joined your claim. Because whistleblower cases often involve extensive financial fraud, the reward for filing a lawsuit under the False Claims Act can be substantial.
Furthermore, the False Claims Act protects workers who file qui tam cases from retaliation by their employers. Although an employer will learn the identity of the person filing a qui tam lawsuit after the court lifts the seal on the case, the employer may not fire, demote, dock the pay of, or otherwise discriminate against an employee who is acting as a whistleblower.
Employers who attempt to retaliate may be held accountable for additional damages.
If you believe you have significant evidence of a person or organization who has defrauded the government, please contact Long & Long by phone at (877) 336-0776 or complete our online form for your confidential, no-cost consultation. Our experienced attorneys are proud to represent whistleblowers from the greater Mobile area and throughout Alabama.