Qui tam lawsuits are brought by individuals, known as whistleblowers, against a company that defrauded the United States government. Whistleblowers do receive compensation for alerting the government of the fraud, but this is not the motivation behind most qui tam lawsuits. Whistleblowers feel a moral obligation to report the company and set things right. There are a number of ways they do this, and many different types of qui tam lawsuits. The most common are found below.
Kickback Qui Tam Cases
Kickbacks are incentives, usually bribes or discounts, paid to an individual or entity to induce certain government healthcare programs, such as Medicare. For example, an entity, such as a cancer treatment center, may bribe a doctor to refer patients to them. Kickbacks of this or any other kind are illegal under the Anti-Kickback Statute. Many whistleblowers have seen companies and other entities receive kickbacks, making this a common type of qui tam case.
Billing Fraud Cases
When a company, such as a hospital, fraudulently bills the government, they are breaking the law. The most common ways they do this are by forging records, double billing, and upcoding. Upcoding is when the healthcare service bills for unnecessary services or procedures, or bills for an amount that is in excess of what the service or treatment actually cost. These are both violations of The False Claims Act, and are some of the most common types of qui tam cases.
Defense Contract Violations Cases
When defense contractors enter into a contract with the government, they have certain obligations, such as not selling the government defective parts. When they violate these contractual obligations and someone within the defense company becomes aware of it, they can file a qui tam lawsuit. For example, if someone had become aware that 3M was knowingly selling defective earplugs to the United States Armed Forces, they could have filed a qui tam lawsuit.
Best Price Cases
When the government works with contractors, those contractors are expected to give the government their best price. This means they cannot overcharge the government, or inflate or manipulate their price in any way. When they do, whistleblowers can file a qui tam lawsuit against them.
For example, if the government hired a construction company to perform maintenance on roads, that construction company must give the government the best, or the lowest, price possible. If someone working for that maintenance company discovered that the government was getting charged more than what is reasonable, or the company’s lowest price, they could file a qui tam lawsuit.
Have You Noticed Wrongdoing in Your Workplace? Call Our California Qui Tam Attorneys
While the above are just some of the most common types of qui tam cases, there are many more. If you have noticed your employer defrauding the government in any way, it is time to take action, and our San Francisco qui tam attorneys can help. At Willoughby Brod, we stand up for whistleblowers, ensure their rights are protected, and help them make things right. Call us today at (800) 427-7020 to schedule your free consultation.
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Steps to Filing a Whistleblower Claim
(image courtesy of Anthony Ginsbrook)