Posted at 15:57h
A “qui tam” action is short for a long Latin sentence that means “He who sues in this matter for the King as well as for himself.” A “qui tam” action refers generally to any kind of reporting of fraud. In my practice, a qui tam more specifically refers to the False Claims Act.
The False Claims Act was enacted by Congress in the 1800’s to prevent or to penalize business or individuals who supplied goods to the Union Army during the Civil War and it was meant to prevent those suppliers from defrauding the Army. Since that time, the False Claims Act has expanded significantly to encompass a wide variety of fraud on the government. Specifically, The False Claims Act makes a person liable for knowingly submitting a false or fraudulent claim to the government, or that causes another to submit a false or fraudulent claim to the government, or knowingly makes a false record or statement to get a false claim paid for by the government (and these are all knowingly doing so).
There are other aspects of the False Claims Act, for instance, what is called a “Reverse False Claims Action,” where the person avoids paying money to the government, for instance in an overpayment, where the Government pays too much, and the person or entity has to pay it back. Those False Claims Act cases are rarer, with the more common type being knowingly submitting a false or fraudulent claim to get paid by the government.
Under the False Claims Act, a person who is found liable must pay a civil penalty of around $5,000-$10,000 for each violation. And, there is a treble damages aspect to it, so the fines can be tripled depending on how egregious the fraud is.
One of the key factors for a False Claims Act case is that the person or business knowingly submits a false or fraudulent information. “Knowing” is defined to be actual knowledge, deliberate ignorance of the truth, or falsity of the information, or reckless disregard of the truth or the information. Unlike a fraud claim, where you have to prove intent to defraud, there is no such requirement under The False Claims Act. All that is required is that it is done knowingly. ...