Qui Tam actions have been around for centuries including being used in England in the 13th century as a way to enforce the King's laws. As it has been common practice for kings and sovereigns to purchase weapons, military services, and other good or services from private sources, they have had to create methods to detect defective goods and fraudulent services. Over time many sovereigns determined that the most efficient and effective method to discover fraud was to offer a bounty or reward for anyone that exposed the defective goods and/or fraudulent services.
The term "Qui Tam" is from Latin and refers to "a person who files a suit for the king as for himself". Qui tam actions allow a private citizen to file a lawsuit on behalf of the government in an effort to recover losses caused by fraud against the government. The law is an incentive for civilians who know of individuals or companies making false claims for profit to come forward with information. In reward, the "whistleblower" (also known as the relator) shares in any federal revenue recovered.
Lincoln's Law and the Federal False Claims Act
Qui tam actions have existed in the United States since colonial times, and were embraced by the first U.S. Congress as a way to enforce the laws when the new federal government had virtually no law enforcement officers. During the Civil War, several corrupt military contractors were defrauding the United States Army out of hundreds of thousands of dollars and putting troops at risk by supplying troops with defective products and faulty war equipment. Illegal price gouging was a common practice and the armed forces of the United States suffered. In response, Abraham Lincoln enacted the Federal Civil False Claims Act. A key provision of the act was known as qui tam.
This Act was weakened in 1943 during World War II while the government rushed to sign large military procurement contracts. However, it was strengthened again in 1986 after a long period of and increase in military spending as well as many stories of defense contractor price gouging and government waste.
The Federal False Claims Act has brought in over $30 Billion for the federal government and recent years have shown record recoveries that are expected to continue to increase. Under this law successful whistleblowers have been awarded over $3 Billion and these whistleblower rewards are expected to continue to expand as several new whistleblower laws have been and are being enacted. For more information on these expansions, please go to the following web pages: Whistleblower Reward Lawsuit Information and Health Care Fraud Whistleblower Lawsuit Information.
Federal False Claims Act Amendments
The Federal False Claims Act was recently amended by the Federal Enforcement and Recovery Act (FERA) including expanding the reach of the Federal False Claims Act to include subcontractors working under a government contractor and other parties working with government contractors.
For more information on this topic, please go to the following web page: Federal False Claims Act Amendments.
If you are aware of a defense contractor, highway contractor, large health care company, or other large contractor or subcontractor that is defrauding the United States Government out of millions or billions of dollars, contact Texas Qui Tam Lawyer Jason Coomer.
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