Who Gets Charged in a Qui Tam Case
According to the 1986 amendments to the False Claims Act, almost any person, corporation, or government entity can be charged as a defendant in a case alleging fraud against the U.S. government. The only exceptions are certain public officials such as members of Congress, judges and senior executive branch officials. Generally, government employees can also be charged.
Some of the more common defendants in qui tam actions are:
- Government contractors and subcontractors. Contractor fraud is one of the most common types of qui tam actions. Subcontractors can also be charged if they cause a false claim to be presented to the government through a contractor.
- Medical providers. Medical providers are another common defendant in qui tam actions involving Medicare/Medicaid fraud. This category includes doctors, hospitals, HMOs, and clinics.
- Private universities. Private universities have been charged as defendants in qui tam actions that involve their handling of federal grants and research and development money.
- State and local government agencies and officials. The Supreme Court has ruled that state governments are exempt as a defendant in a qui tam action. However, because they are recipients of large amounts of federal money, state and local entities can be defendants in qui tam actions.
In general, any organization or person who uses, and abuses, federal money can be charged as a defendant in a qui tam action.
If you have worked for one of the above entities or in other situations in which you believe you may have information about fraudulent actions against the U.S. government, you will need the assistance of an experienced attorney to help you determine your next step.