Qui Tam Laws
Kitzer Rochel qui tam lawyers help whistleblowers fight government fraud and corporate misconduct, and recover rewards under federal and state laws for doing so.
The term “qui tam” refers to a type of legal claim whereby an individual files a claim on behalf of the government, and receives a part of the government’s recovery for herself as an incentive for bringing the claim. The term literally comes from a latin phrase meaning “One who sues in this matter for the king as well as for oneself.” The purpose of a qui tam provision in a law is to give an incentive or reward to an individual for coming forward and exposing fraud, waste or wrongdoing against the government.
Congress enacted the first qui tam law in the United States during the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln signed the law into effect in order to curb widespread fraud against the government. Since then–and increasingly in recent years–qui tam laws have expanded to allow individuals (called “relators”) to file claims on behalf of the government and earn significant rewards for doing so. Contemporary qui tam laws provide incentives for whistleblowers in order to protect taxpayers, investors, consumers, mortgage holders and others from being defrauded.
The most common qui tam law is the False Claims Act (FCA) which prohibits fraud against the U.S. government and has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in rewards to relators over the years. But there are several qui tam laws in addition to the FCA. Some examples include:
- The Dodd-Frank Act contains robust qui tam provisions providing for significant financial rewards for relators whose claims are validated and result in government recovery.
- The Security Exchange Act (“SEA”) provides for qui tam incentives for employees who provide “original information” to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The awards are between 10-30 percent of the total recovery by the United States and have included multi-million dollar rewards.
- The Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) has a qui tam whistleblower law allowing for recovery for individuals who report violations of commodities trading laws. Again, whistleblowers may be entitled to a monetary reward between 10 and 30 percent of the government’s total recovery.
- The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) contains a qui tam incentive for employees who report securities violations.
- The banking and financial industries have several other federal laws with qui tam reward provisions in addition to SOX and the Dodd Frank Act.
- State laws, such as state false claims acts, include qui tam provisions that are similar to the federal FCA. For instance, Minnesota has a False Claims Act that provides incentive reward payments to individuals who disclose information that results in a recovery for the State of Minnesota.
Contact us to learn more about qui tam litigation, and whether you may be entitled to a reward for disclosing information about wrongdoing by a corporation.