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Insight and commentary on qui tam law in Oregon

What is qui tam

A brief overview
October 9, 2023

The United States government contracts with vendors to provide goods and services. For example, through Medicare and Medicaid, the federal government contracts with hospitals, medical groups, and doctors to provide health care services to about 37% of the population.

Qui tam laws help to fight fraud in government programs. A qui tam action, derived from the Latin phrase “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur,” is a legal mechanism that allows private individuals, often referred to as “whistleblowers” or “relators,” to file lawsuits on behalf of the government against individuals or entities who have committed fraud or wrongdoing against the government. These actions typically involve cases of fraud against government programs or contracts, such as healthcare fraud, defense contractor fraud, or financial fraud involving government funds.

The most frequent types of fraud typically reporting include kickbacks, overbilling, upcoding, bid rigging, and false invoicing.

Qui tam whistleblowers are eligible to receive between 15 and 30 percent of the government’s recovery. There are no limits on awards. Typically, the better the information, the higher the sanction, the larger the reward.

Since 1986, over $7 billion has been paid in whistleblower rewards and rising each year as more and more whistleblowers come forward.

The False Claims Act allows whistleblowers to file a qui tam lawsuit under seal. This means the whistleblower’s identity is only known to the court and the U.S. government while the case is under seal. It is not unusual for qui tam cases to remain under seal for an extended period, even for several years. Whistleblowers who’ve witness fraud should contact an experienced whistleblower attorney to assist them in properly filing a qui tam lawsuit under seal.