Individuals with information about fraud against the U.S. government may become a whistleblower and file a qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act; including those living in foreign countries. Often times the whistleblower is an insider, such as an employee of the company, a contractor, or someone with intimate knowledge of the fraud, and can produce substantial direct evidence.
When a whistleblower, also known as a “relator,” files a lawsuit against the fraudster, they must do so with the help of a whistleblower attorney who specializes in filing qui tam lawsuit claims. Supporting documents with detailed information about the fraud are also included in the filing.
Whistleblowers must be the first to file their qui tam lawsuit. If another qui tam relator files a qui tam complaint based on the same fraud a whistleblower is alleging, before submitting their qui tam suit, this disqualifies them from the qui tam process.
A qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act can occur when an individual or entity:
- Knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval.
- Knowingly makes, uses or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement important to a false or fraudulent claim for payment or to an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the government.
- Knowingly conceals or knowingly and improperly avoids or decreases an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the government.
The False Claims Act is codified as 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-33. Section 3729 sets forth anti-fraud requirements of the Act, and Section 3730 includes the provisions related to filing a qui tam lawsuit by a whistleblower.