What is the Qui Tam?

The term “qui tam” originated in 13th century England where it was used to enforce the King’s laws. Qui tam is a shortening of the Latin phrase qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur, which means “Who as much for our king as for he himself in this action pursues.”

In Medieval England, Qui Tam law was used to reward those who reported theft from the king. If a man was caught stealing from an orchard, the person who reported the theft would awarded one-third of the spoils. This practice came to the United States with the first colonists, but did not become part of U.S. Law until the False Claims Act was passed during the Civil War.

During the Civil War, profiteers tried to cheat the Union Army by providing sick and lame horses, spoiled food, and faulty ammunition.  The False Claims Act allowed everyday citizens to stop these crimes by filing a lawsuit on behalf of the government. A False Claims Act lawsuit is called a “Qui Tam Lawsuit”.

How Does a Qui Tam Case Work?

A Qui Tam lawsuit begins when a person discovers financial fraud or misuse of government funds and contacts an attorney about the wrongdoing.  The person who reports the crime then becomes the relator.

The attorney investigates the case and helps the relator to file a lawsuit in federal District Court. The lawsuit is filed under seal; this means it is kept confidential. Only the government, the relator, and his or her attorney know about the case.

At this time, the Department of Justice begins its’ own investigation and determines whether or not it will take over the lawsuit. If the Department of Justice takes over the case, the relator will receive up to 25 percent of the government’s recovery.

If the Department of Justice decides not to intervene, the relator may continue to pursue the case.  If the suit is successful, the realtor may receive up to 30 percent of the government’s recovery as a reward. Legal fees are also be covered.

Are You Ready to Be a Whistleblower?

If you have found evidence of fraud at your workplace, contact Petrelli Law immediately. Our attorneys will schedule an appointment to assess your case and discuss your legal options. There is no charge and no obligation. Everything you tell us will be kept confidential. To learn more, fill out the online contact form, or call Petrelli Law at 800-432-9461.