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Qui Tam/Whistleblower

The United States government does billions of dollars of business with private citizens. The vast majority of the parties who contract with the government are honest, fair dealing business people. Unfortunately, a significant number give in to the temptation to cheat, and defraud the government by over billing, charging for services never provided or goods not delivered, or by disregarding their contractual obligations. Fraud in contracting hurts those who rely on the integrity of government contracts. If you know about fraud, contact an attorney to discuss taking action.

Nationally Known Whistleblower Attorneys

In order to be successful in a whistleblower claim, the facts behind the fraud or false claim are extremely important. Equally important is your right to skilled, quality legal representation. At Engel & Engel, we have highly qualified false claims act and whistleblower attorneys who can evaluate and bring your qui tam/ whistleblower action, under the Federal False Claims Act. With offices in Baltimore, Arbutus, and Silver Spring, Maryland, Florida, and New York, our qui tam representation is nationwide. Our skilled qui tam lawyers are an excellent choice to help you in your pursuit of stopping government waste and fraud in Washington, DC and nationwide.

Qui Tam - An Overview

Do you have information that someone-a company or an individual-is defrauding the government? If you do, you may be able to bring a lawsuit known as a qui tam action. A qui tam action lets the government recover money that it lost due to fraud. An individual who brings a qui tam action is also entitled to an award of a percentage of the money recovered by the government. If you have knowledge of fraud against the government, it is essential that you seek legal counsel from experienced qui tam litigation attorneys.

Bringing a Qui Tam Action

Any individual can file a qui tam action, alleging that a false claim has been submitted to the government. A false claim could be overcharging the government, charging for services never provided, selling something and not delivering it, making false reports about the quality of a product, failing to properly test products, or any scheme intended to cheat, defraud, or steal from the government.

If a private individual initiates the case, the action is filed "under seal," which means that the contents of the complaint are kept confidential, and are not to be released to the public. A copy of the complaint is served on the United States Attorney for the district in which the defendant is located, as well as the Attorney General of the United States. The complaint remains under seal for at least sixty days to give the government an opportunity to investigate the allegations and decides whether it wants to intervene in the action. If the government decides to intervene, it then takes over the action, and has the primary responsibility for prosecuting the action. If the government declines to intervene, the individual who originally filed the complaint has the right to pursue the action without the involvement of the government, although the government may decide to intervene at a later date.

It is not necessary to show that the defendant intended to defraud the government. The defendant will be held liable if the court or jury finds that the false claim was submitted either with the knowledge that it was false, in deliberate ignorance of the truth or falsity of the claim, or with a reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the claim. It does not matter that the government did not suffer any actual monetary damage: the focus is solely on the defendant's conduct.

Awards in a Qui Tam Case

The monetary awards in a qui tam case can be substantial. A defendant found liable will be required to pay three times the amount of damages suffered by the government. In addition, the court may impose a penalty of $5,000 to $10,000 per claim, and also order punitive damages. The court will order the defendant to pay the costs, expenses, and attorney's fees incurred in bringing and prosecuting the lawsuit.

Award for Bringing the Qui Tam Litigation

The False Claims Act includes an incentive to bringing a qui tam action. A person who brings the action is entitled to receive an award in an amount between fifteen and thirty percent of the recovery, with the exact amount fixed by the court.

If the government joins in the suit, and the person who brings the action was not involved in the wrongdoing or fraud, the award will be between fifteen and twenty-five percent of the recovery. The exact amount depends on the extent to which the person bringing the suit was involved after the government intervened. If the government does not join in the suit, the award will be between twenty-five and thirty percent of the recovery.

If the person who brings the suit was involved in the wrongdoing, the court may reduce his or her recovery, depending on the circumstances of the person's wrongdoing. If the person is convicted in a criminal action of the wrongdoing, the court will deny him or her any award.


A qui tam action can vindicate important governmental, and public, interests. They serve to offer an incentive to anyone who has knowledge of misconduct to help protect the public treasury, and the integrity of government contracts. If you know of fraud or dishonesty in a government contract or program, do not delay in contacting an experienced qui tam litigation attorney.

Copyright ©2009 FindLaw, a Thomson Business

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

Qui Tam Resource Links

The Qui Tam Information Center
General information website, maintained by the Bauman & Rasor Group, Inc., investigators and consultants who specialize in qui tam actions.

The False Claims Act Legal Center
Website operated by Taxpayers Against Fraud, a nonprofit organization dedicated to using qui tam actions to combat fraud against the government.

Government Accountability Project
"The nation's leading whistleblower organization," working to promote government and corporate accountability.

Copyright ©2009 FindLaw, a Thomson Business

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

If you become aware that fraud is being committed and that federal or government funds are being abused, contact the experienced whistleblower lawyers at Engel & Engel before taking any action. We have the knowledge and experience to help make sure your claim is successful.

Engel & Engel
11 East Lexington Street, Suite 200
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Phone: (410) 727-5095
Fax: (410) 727-1830 or
(410) 727-1422
Toll Free: (800) 566-6565

Arbutus, Maryland: Silver Spring, MD, Highland Beach, FL, and New York City

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