Did you know that if you know of someone, or a company, defrauding the government, you can file a lawsuit and collect a portion of the settlement? This special provision of the Federal False Claims Act is called the Qui Tam clause. Basically speaking it means that you can initiate the lawsuit, and those who are breaking the law will not only be caught, but you will be rewarded. Best of all, the law protects you as the whistleblower, so you dont have to be afraid of the repercussions.
What is the Federal False Claims Act?
Back when Abraham Lincoln was president the country was in the middle of the Civil War. During this time there were a lot of government contractors that were cutting corners in order to make themselves some money. To combat this fraud the government set up the False Claims Act that would allow citizens to blow the whistle on the fraudsters. In order to encourage people to take action, they included the Qui Tam clause (which stems from a Latin phrase meaning roughly sues on behalf of the king) which gave a reward to the whistleblower. Over the years the law has changed and adapted, but it still remains relevant today.
UBS Tax Evasion
Take for instance the interesting case brought for by Bradley Birkenfeld. Bradley was working for UBS (the major global investment firm). He discovered that some accounts for US clients were being hidden in offshore accounts in order to avoid taxes. By exposing the corruption of this investment giant Bradley earned himself $104 million when the lawsuit was settled and UBS was fined $780 million. It is estimated that by exposing the corruption the US government saved around $4 billion.
Filing Your Qui Tam Lawsuit
Bradleys case took 4 years to come to fruition, and it was a huge case. Most likely the kind of fraud that you see happening at your workplace is not as large, but you could still earn thousands of dollars. Anything from pharmaceutical fraud, to selling faulty equipment, to government contracting fraud (a builder stating a superior item will be installed and then installing an inferior one for instance), can all be potential leads for you.
If you know of fraud that is occurring, and you are sick of seeing someone profit because they are cheating the government out of what they paid for, you can take action. Your first step is to contact a whistleblower attorney and set up your free consultation.