Qui tam is an action brought against someone attempting to commit fraud against the government by someone who has direct and material information about the case. These actions have been in use since the early thirteenth century in England.
The False Claims Act of 1863 was designed to give relators a reason to come forward. The private citizen filing the lawsuit on behalf of the government is known as the relator or plaintiff in the case and is entitled to receive a portion of the awarded amount should the government’s case be won.
In a qui tam case, the private citizen has information showing that the defendant named in the case knowingly committed fraud against the U.S. The relator does not need to have been directly harmed by the actions of the defendant. The information supplied by the relator cannot be a part of public knowledge.
Qui tam allows a private citizen to file a lawsuit on behalf of the United States Government that charges fraud against government contractors or others who attempt to collect funds for work or services not supplied. Some qui tam actions have involved such contractors and government agencies as:
- Defense contractors
- Health and Human Services
- Environmental Energy
- Agriculture and Transportation
For more information about qui tam and what role the private citizen plays, please contact the law offices of Robbins & Associates.