Could A Qui Tam Case Really Make You Wealthy?

Qui Tam cases have made many a private citizen wealthy, but most people have never heard of the concept. In a nutshell, a Qui Tam case involves a private citizen bringing a claim on the government’s behalf for fraud. Basically, you’re a whistle blower. While that term may have negative connotations, perhaps making several million dollars in the process might help you get over it.

Case in point

North American Airlines had to pay $12.5M in late 2005 for wrongfully terminating one of its pilots who brought suit against the company for safety violations that involved the company illegally dispatching Boeing 757’s with unresolved flight control issues. He was terminated less than 30 days later despite his exemplary record. His percentage of that verdict fell between 15 – 30%, or $1.8M - $3.75M!

Qui Tam cases are allowed under the Fair Claims Act and also provide protection for whistle blowers who lose their jobs. The can sue their company and be awarded damages including reinstatement (getting your job back), double the amount of back pay, reasonable attorneys’ fees and court costs.

Types of Qui Tam cases As the airline case above suggests, Qui Tam cases can be brought in any area. In the 1980’s, most cases involved the defense industry. Who doesn’t remember the case where a supplier was charging the government thousands of dollars for toilet seats? Today, most cases involve fraud against Medicare, Medicaid, environmental, employment and Tri-Care funds (billing for testing that was not conducted, billing for new equipment when old equipment was used and performing unnecessary procedures.)

How much money has been collected?

The False Claims Act was updated in 1986 to make it easier for private citizens to sue on behalf of the government. Since that time, nearly $15B has been recovered – which means that the private citizen whistle blowers have collected approximately $2B - $4B.

Before you count your money, it’s important to realize that Qui Tam cases are extremely complicated. Private citizens will need the assistance of an attorney who understands these types of cases.

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