Since 1991, my Miami law firm has represented individuals in medical fraud claims against doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical manufacturers, as well as Qui Tam or whistle blower cases.
What is a Qui Tam Case?
Individuals may be entitled to a reward for bringing forth a whistleblower or Qui Tam case to the government. The False Claims Act (FCA) was enacted in 1863 by the United States Congress, over concerns that there were groups defrauding the Federal government.
The law is complex, but it essentially states that any person who “knowingly submits” a false claims to the government either to get money or property or to avoid having to pay money that would be due is liable for double the government’s damages plus a penalty of $2,000 for each false claim. Since 1863, the FCA has been amended many times.
A suit filed by an individual on behalf of the government is known as a “qui tam” action, and the person bringing the action is referred to as a “Relator.” In 1986, damages were changed from double to treble (three times) raising the penalties from $2,000 to $10,000. Since 1986 the FCA has been amended three more times.
In order for a claim to qualify as a False Claim, it must be knowingly submitted to the government with the following:
- Actual knowledge;
- Deliberate ignorance of the truth or falsity of the information, or
- Reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the information.
The Definition of a False Claim
A valid False Claims Act case includes any kind of fraudulent demand that is made directly to the Federal Government or to a contractor, grantee, or other recipient when the money is to be spent on the government’s behalf not including tax claims under the Internal Revenue Code.