Qui Tam Lawsuits Involve Any Form of Fraud Against the Government
Qui Tam, or whistleblower, lawsuits have a long history. In fact, President Lincoln signed the False Claims Act into law in 1863. While most people associate whistleblower lawsuits with military contractors, numerous amendments to the Act allow for suits for any form of fraud committed on the government by a government contractor.
Hotbeds areas of Qui Tam litigation
There are many hotbed areas of litigation relating to the False Claims Act, according to Larry Golston, an Alabama attorney whose firm represents clients in Qui Tam litigation, as well as consumer fraud and bad faith insurance litigation. He provided the following examples in a recent interview:
- Medical Qui Tam.One of the hotbed areas of False Claims Act litigation today is in the medical arena. You have people who defraud Medicare by what they call up-coding, which means that the defrauder says that a patient needs a certain treatment that they really don’t need or just flat out over-bills Medicare. Those types of situations will typically bring about False Claims Act lawsuits.
- Education Qui Tam.Another area that I have seen coming to the False Claims Act arena recently is in education. Everybody knows that the federal government provides a lot of funding through grants and loans to secondary educational institutions like colleges and universities and we’re finding out that there are a lot of these institutions that are certifying to the government that they’re using these funds in a particular way, but are really not. They’re taking the money and using it for other purposes that are not legal or permissible.
- Military Qui Tam.Issues with military contractors continue due to the war in Iraq for over-billing or flat out not supplying the goods or the services that they say they’re going to be supplying.
- Subsidies Qui Tam. One of the landmark cases involves a government subsidy program where the federal government was providing a city with money to run its buses. The city was supposedly using the monies to increase bus routes. Well, it turned out the city was taking the money and doing other things with it which violated the False Claims Act.
Golston says that these are only a few examples of the case law exists. He added, “A claim could involve any entity or business that contracts with the government. If they defraud, mislead or fail to disclose things to the government, it can potentially lead to a False Claims Act case.”
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