False Claims

Volkema Thomas Miller & Scott, LPA, has been involved in the prosecution of cases against government contractors who defraud the United States taxpayers. False claim cases, also known as qui tam cases, may be brought by private citizens, sometimes called whistleblowers or relators, on behalf of the United States government and state governments against defense contractors, health care providers or other companies that present false claims to our federal and state governments. These cases are brought under the federal and state False Claims Act by employees who learn of their employer's fraud upon the government. These cases are extremely complicated and expensive, demanding huge commitments of resources and an experienced litigation team. Volkema Thomas Miller & Scott can help determine if a false claims case exists, and can put together a litigation team to successfully prosecute valid claims.

An Introduction To The Federal False Claims Act

What does "qui tam" mean?
The term "qui tam" stands for a longer Latin phrase [qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur] that is translated as "he who brings an action for the king as well as for himself." Qui tam is the technical legal term for the unique mechanism in the federal False Claims Act that allows persons and entities with evidence of fraud against federal programs or contracts to sue the wrongdoer on behalf of the government.

A qui tam action is one brought under the False Claims Act by a private plaintiff on behalf of the federal government (rather than by the government itself). These actions are sometimes referred to as "whistleblower lawsuits." With qui tam, the government has the right to intervene and join the action or the government may decline intervention, in which case the private plaintiff may proceed on his own.

What is a "relator?" A whistleblower who files a suit under the False Claims Act is known as a relator, instead of a plaintiff. Technically, the United States (or the state in a state FCA case) is the plaintiff.

Does the False Claims Act cover tax fraud?
The False Claims Act explicitly excludes tax fraud. Section 3729(e) states that the Act "does not apply to claims, records, or statements made under the Internal Revenue Code." If you wish to report tax fraud, please call the IRS Fraud Hotline at 1-800-829-0433.

Where can the False Claims Act be found?
The False Claims Act can be found in the United States Code, Title 31, Sections 3729 through 3733 ( 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733)

How old is the False Claims Act?
The False Claims Act, also known as the "Lincoln Law," dates back to the Civil War. Plagued by war profiteers selling the Union army shoddy supplies at inflated prices, President Lincoln signed the False Claims Act into law in 1863. The original law included qui tam provisions that allowed private persons to sue those who defrauded the government and receive 50 percent of any recovery from the defendant.

Taxpayers Against Fraud (www.taf.org) and the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund (TAFEF) are organizations dedicated to assisting whistleblowers and their attorneys to protecting the False Claims Act against attack by big business, and to educating the American people about the benefits of the False Claims Act's qui tam provisions. Their work is necessary because the False Claims Act works so well that unscrupulous special interests are always plotting new ways to weaken the law. Since the 1986 amendments to the False Claims Act were passed, numerous attempts have been made to weaken and undermine the law or obtain an outright exemption from it.