The Role of the Whistleblower
Qui Tam laws are designed to let a private citizen file a lawsuit and “blow the whistle” on fraud against the government. When the government doesn’t have the resources to find and fight fraud on its own, it necessarily relies on the efforts of whistleblowers, individuals who have information and the courage to go up against these companies. These laws have been around for centuries, since England was coming out of the Dark Ages. Qui Tam laws (also called False Claims Acts) provide the whistleblower a portion of the recovery. By “blowing the whistle” on fraud, the whistleblower often risks losing his or her job, and usually expends significant time and energy in pursuing these cases. Thus, as an incentive to come forward as well as compensation for undertaking the risky work of pursuing the case, the individual whistleblower receives a portion of the money recovered in the lawsuit; however, the majority of the money goes to the government.
Unfortunately, it can be easy to get away with cheating the government. You may remember scandals from the 1980s involving $435 hammers and $7,000 coffee makers provided to the Department of Defense. One of the most common uses of Qui Tam laws is to fight health care fraud, and our overburdened Medicare and Medicaid systems need that protection. In addition, Qui Tam laws are used to fight against fraud by defense contractors and government contractors of all types.
Whistleblowers are a vital part of fighting the fraud that costs taxpayers billions of dollars. And recognizing how much we as taxpayers need them to step up, these statutes give them a portion of the recovery. These individuals are doing something important for us all, and Baron & Budd is proud to stand with them, “Protecting What’s Right.”