Questions about Qui Tam/Whistleblower Fraud Law
Serving Clients Nationwide
What is the False Claims Act?
The False Claims Act is a longstanding federal statute that allows individuals with knowledge of fraud against the government to file qui tam lawsuits to recover damages on the government’s behalf. Essentially, any knowledge of false claims submitted for government payment can provide the basis for a qui tam action. To encourage whistleblowers to come forward, the False Claims Act also offers protection from employer retaliation for actions pursuant to the Act as well as a percentage of the amount recovered in whistleblower compensation.
Who can become a whistleblower?
Whistleblowers, called “relators” in qui tam law, do not need to have been personally injured or affected by the fraud in question. A relator must simply have knowledge that the fraud has taken place. In fact, the relator’s knowledge may even be secondhand, learned from a friend or relative. However, the whistleblower reward percentage is greater for relators that make a substantial contribution to the prosecution of the qui tam action. Relators whose knowledge comes from sources that are publicly available or who were involved in the fraud may receive far less than the 15% statutory minimum.
How do I initiate a qui tam lawsuit?
With help from a qualified qui tam attorney, the relator first files a Complaint in Federal District Court “under seal.” This means that for at least 60 days, the complaint is not disclosed to any party except the Court and government prosecutors. At the same time, the relator serves a “Disclosure Statement” on the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice. This statement is crucial to the outcome of the case as it helps direct the government’s investigation of the fraud and greatly influences DOJ’s decision on whether or not to intervene in the case.
How much does Kenney & McCafferty charge to accept a qui tam case?
In short, nothing. Kenney & McCafferty accepts a select few meritorious qui tam cases out of the many requests we receive on a contingency basis, which means that we collect no fee from you unless the case is successful. This shows our commitment to a successful outcome as the expenses for prosecuting a large qui tam case can exceed one million dollars or more. We attempt to recoup those expenses from the defendant in judgments or settlements, and then charge a percentage to be taken from the whistleblower reward payment.
Will Kenney & McCafferty take my case if I live far away from their offices?
Yes. Kenney & McCafferty has represented whistleblowers nationwide for more than a decade. Our offices are located in the Philadelphia area, close to Washington, D.C. so that we can work closely with DOJ and other trial lawyers to investigate and prosecute qui tam cases. Collaboration with DOJ is important to a successful case. However, we accept cases from across the country and will be happy to schedule an evaluation no matter where you live.
If you have knowledge of a fraud or false claim against the government, please contact our qui tam lawyers today. Kenney & McCafferty attorneys will consult with you about your case, without obligation. All communications with Kenney & McCafferty attorneys during these consultation services are confidential and protected by the attorney-client privilege.