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Home  >  Qui Tam | Whistleblower   >  Qui Tam Lawyer & Columbus Qui Tam Lawsuit Attorney
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Qui Tam Lawyer & Columbus Qui Tam Lawsuit Attorney

As a dedicated Columbus attorney specializing in False Claims Act cases, I protect the rights of whistleblowers who courageously report fraud against the government. Stepter Employment Law represents clients in Qui Tam cases under the False Claims Act, helping clients throughout Columbus and the surrounding areas navigate the complexities of these important legal matters.

If you have witnessed fraud against the government, I invite you to call my office to schedule a free consultation with an experienced whistleblower lawyer. Together, we can discuss your observations, evaluate the strength of your case, and determine the best steps forward. Your courage to speak up can make a significant difference in protecting public resources and upholding justice.

Understanding Qui Tam Law | What Is A Qui Tam Lawsuit?

whistleblower attorney Rayl Stepter - photo of a whisteblower

Qui Tam law is a provision under the False Claims Act (FCA) that allows private individuals, known as relators or whistleblowers, to file lawsuits on behalf of the U.S. government against companies or individuals who have committed fraud against federal programs or contracts. The primary aim of Qui Tam law is to recover funds lost to fraud, with the added benefit of rewarding the whistleblower for their part in identifying the wrongdoing. The qui tam provisions specifically empower individuals by enabling them to act against fraud, waste, and abuse under federal contracts and programs, playing a crucial role in assisting the government to identify and pursue legal actions when necessary.

As a Qui Tam attorney, I guide clients through every step of this challenging process, ensuring they are fully informed and confidently prepared to move forward with their claims. I understand the risks involved in blowing the whistle and prioritize my clients’ confidentiality and protection throughout the proceedings.

How Much Can A Realtor Be Rewarded In A Qui Tam Lawsuit?

In a Qui Tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act (FCA), the whistleblower can receive a significant monetary reward if the case results in financial recovery for the government. The reward amount depends on several factors, including whether the government decides to intervene in the case.

Here are the general guidelines for whistleblower rewards in Qui Tam cases:

  • Government Intervention. If the government chooses to intervene in the lawsuit, the whistleblower can typically receive between 15% and 25% of the recovered amount. The exact percentage within this range can vary depending on the extent of the whistleblower’s contribution to the success of the case, including the significance of the information provided and the role the whistleblower played during the proceedings.
  • No Government Intervention. If the government decides not to intervene and the relator (and their legal team) proceeds with the lawsuit independently, the whistleblower may receive a higher portion of the recovered funds. In these cases, the relator can receive between 25% and 30% of the recovery. This higher percentage compensates for the increased risks and efforts undertaken by the whistleblower without government assistance.
  • Additional Considerations:
    • Legal Fees and Expenses. In both scenarios, whistleblowers are also often eligible to receive compensation for legal fees and expenses incurred in pursuing the Qui Tam action. This provision helps ensure that individuals are not financially burdened by the costs of litigation.
    • Settlements. Many Qui Tam cases are resolved through settlements rather than going to trial. Settlements also include the relator’s shares and often encompass the legal costs as part of the agreement.

The potential for substantial rewards serves as an incentive for whistleblowers to report fraud against the government and helps to offset the personal and professional risks they take in coming forward.

How Long Do I Have to File A Qui Tam Lawsuit?

clocks signifying the statute of limitations for sexual harassment

The timeframe for filing a Qui Tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act (FCA) is governed by specific statutory limitations. Generally, a Qui Tam action must be filed within the following time frames:

  • Statute of Limitations. A Qui Tam lawsuit must be filed no later than six years from the date of the violation of the False Claims Act or within three years after the relevant U.S. official responsible for acting against the fraud becomes aware of the material facts.
  • Statute of Repose. Also, under what is known as the “statute of repose,” a lawsuit must be filed not more than ten years after the violation occurred.

This dual time limit ensures that cases are brought in a timely manner while providing some flexibility if the government was initially unaware of the fraud. It’s crucial for whistleblowers to consult with a qualified Qui Tam lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the specifics of their case and ensure that any legal action is initiated within these legal deadlines.

Why Choose Experienced Qui Tam Attorney Rayl Stepter?

 Stepter Employment Law, offers personalized legal services tailored to the specifics of each client’s situation. Our approach is comprehensive, covering initial consultations, in-depth investigations, and robust legal representation. Recognizing the importance of specialized legal services, this whistleblower law firm is committed to providing protection for individuals filing whistleblower claims, especially those concerned about potential retaliation.

As an experienced whistleblower attorney, I take pride in my ability to handle even the most complex cases, providing detailed explanations and strategic advice to ensure my clients make informed decisions.

The Process of Filing a Qui Tam Lawsuit

Filing a Qui Tam lawsuit involves several key steps, including:

  • Initial Consultation. The journey begins with a confidential meeting where I listen to your concerns and assess the viability of your case. It’s critical to act swiftly as the law awards the first relator to file.
  • Investigation. If your case shows potential, a covert investigation will commence, remaining under seal for at least 60 days, during which the government decides whether to intervene.
  • Filing the Complaint. With sufficient evidence, I will file a formal complaint on your behalf. This complaint remains under seal, giving the government time to investigate your allegations without public disclosure.
  • Government Intervention. The U.S. government will review our findings and decide whether to take over the prosecution. If the government intervenes, the chances of a successful resolution increase, but if not, as an experienced qui tam lawyer, we can consider pursuing justice independently.
  • Proceeding to Trial. If necessary, I will represent you at trial, using every resource at my disposal to present a compelling case.
  • Resolution and Reward. Should we succeed, you may receive between 15% and 30% of the recovered funds, a significant financial reward for your contributions to justice.

The Importance of Choosing a Local Columbus Qui Tam Lawyer

Choosing a local Qui Tam lawyer provides several advantages. I am familiar with the local legal environment and have established relationships within the Ohio legal and judicial system. This local insight is invaluable in navigating the complexities of Qui Tam cases and can significantly impact the outcome of your lawsuit.

Furthermore, being based in Columbus allows me to offer more accessible and personalized service to my clients. I am available to meet in person to discuss your case and provide the hands-on support that is often needed in these high-stakes situations.

What Types of Qui Tam Lawsuits Does Stepter Employment Law Handle?

As a qui tam lawyer with over three decades of experience, my office can provide representation on nearly all types of qui tam lawsuits including Healthcare Fraud, including Medicare Fraud and Medicaid Fraud and Stark Act violations, Bribery, Kickbacks, and Procurement Fraud by major Defense Contractors. Our firm has a strong track record in dealing with complex investigations related to procurement fraud among other types of government contractor fraud, showcasing our expertise in representing clients in these challenging cases.

Healthcare Fraud

doctor being bribed

This is a prevalent area for qui tam actions and involves fraudulent claims made to government healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Common instances include:

  • Billing for Non-existent Services: Charging for medical services that were never rendered.
  • Upcoding: Billing for more expensive services than those actually provided.
  • Unnecessary Services: Providing and billing for medically unnecessary services to increase revenue.
  • Prescription Drug Fraud: Engaging in illegal practices related to prescription medications, such as kickbacks or billing for unapproved drugs.

Government Contractor Fraud

Government contractors commit this type of fraud by failing to meet the terms of their federal contracts. Examples include:

  • Substandard Materials: Using inferior materials while charging for premium costs.
  • Billing for Undelivered Goods and Services: Charging for goods and services that were never delivered.
  • Cost Misreporting: Falsely reporting costs or inflating expenses to secure greater compensation from the government.

Pharmaceutical Fraud

Pharmaceutical companies may commit fraud through:

  • Off-label Marketing: Promoting drugs for unapproved uses, which is not sanctioned by the FDA.
  • Price Fixing: Collaboratively setting an artificial price among competitors which is higher than the market would set.
  • Manipulation of Research Data: Altering or fabricating research data to support the efficacy and safety of drugs, thereby misleading regulatory approvals.

Defense Contractor Fraud

This fraud involves deception in defense contracts, including:

  • Fraudulent Billing: Submitting invoices for services not performed or products not delivered.
  • Substandard Products: Providing poor quality materials or products in defense supplies.
  • Non-compliance with Specifications: Ignoring the specific contractual requirements of defense contracts.

Educational Fraud

Educational institutions may engage in fraud involving federal funds through:

  • Falsifying Student Information: To receive grants or loans for which they are not eligible.
  • Misrepresentation in Research Grants: Fabricating research outcomes to secure continued funding.

Environmental Fraud

This occurs when companies:

  • Violate Environmental Laws: To secure federal contracts or avoid costs associated with compliance.
  • Fail in Remediation Duties: Not performing required environmental clean-up while claiming it has been done.

Grant Fraud

Involves grantees:

  • Misrepresenting Use of Funds: Providing false statements about how federal grant money is being used.
  • Misuse of Funds: Using the funds for purposes other than those stipulated in the grant terms.

Public Works and Construction Fraud

This includes:

  • Use of Inferior Materials: To reduce costs while charging for high-quality materials.
  • Billing for Non-existent Work: Charging for work that was never performed on construction projects.

Technology and Cybersecurity Fraud

Companies may defraud government technology contracts by:

  • Providing Non-compliant Software: Delivering software that does not meet the contractual or security standards.
  • Failing in Security Measures: Not implementing required security measures in technology infrastructure.

Customs and Import Fraud

Custom and import fraud involves:

  • Underreporting Value: To reduce duties and taxes owed on imported goods.
  • Circumventing Regulations: Engaging in practices that violate trade laws to gain a competitive edge.

Housing and Mortgage Fraud

Includes:

  • Falsifying Loan Information: Misrepresenting information on loan applications for federal housing programs.
  • Misuse of Funds: Diverting funds from housing programs for unauthorized uses.

Research and Scientific Fraud

Occurs when researchers:

  • Falsify Data: To secure funding or regulatory approvals, researchers may alter or fabricate data submitted to federal agencies.

Agricultural Fraud

Farmers and corporations may commit fraud by:

  • Misrepresenting Compliance: Falsifying compliance with federal agricultural programs.
  • Subsidy Frauds: Making false claims to receive subsidies they are not entitled to.

These examples represent a broad spectrum of potential fraudulent activities against the government. My firm is fully prepared to tackle these complex cases, bringing to bear legal knowledge and the access to resources necessary to support whistleblowers in their quest to expose and rectify governmental fraud.

What Can I Do to Protect Myself from Employer Retaliation?

Protecting yourself from employer retaliation is a critical consideration when deciding to blow the whistle on fraudulent activities. Under the False Claims Act (FCA) and other whistleblower protection laws, there are several steps you can take to safeguard your rights:

  • Understand Your Rights. First, familiarize yourself with the rights and protections provided under the FCA and any relevant state laws. The FCA specifically includes provisions that protect whistleblowers from being fired, demoted, harassed, or otherwise discriminated against as a result of their lawful acts in furtherance of a qui tam action or other efforts to stop one or more violations of the FCA.
  • Document Everything. Keep detailed records of any fraudulent activity and your efforts to report it. Document all communications related to the fraud and your whistleblowing, including emails, memos, and notes from meetings. Also, maintain records of your job performance and any correspondence that could demonstrate your standing or changes in your treatment by the employer before and after blowing the whistle.
  • Seek Legal Advice Early. Consult with whistleblower attorneys as soon as you suspect fraud. These specialized attorneys can provide guidance on how to proceed with your whistleblower claims while protecting your rights. They can also help ensure you are prepared for potential retaliation and promptly address any retaliatory actions.
  • Use Formal Channels. Report the fraud formally using the channels established by law or your employer’s internal policies if they are secure and reliable. Reporting through formal channels often provides additional legal protections and creates a clear record of your actions.
  • Maintain Confidentiality. Limit discussions about your suspicions and any related investigation to your attorney and, if necessary, law enforcement or government officials involved in your case. The more discreet you are, the less opportunity your employer has to retaliate preemptively.
  • Know the Process for Retaliation Claims. In the event you face retaliation, it’s important to know the process for making a claim. This can involve filing a complaint with the appropriate government agency, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for violations of whistleblower protections. As a qui tam retaliation attorney, I can initiate this process and help ensure your claim is filed within any applicable deadlines.
  • Prepare for Financial Implications. Understand that while legal protections exist, the process of resolving a retaliation claim can be lengthy. Financial planning for potential job loss or periods of unemployment might be necessary. I can discuss potential interim relief measures and actions that can be taken to prevent further discrimination.

Whistleblower attorneys are adept at handling a variety of whistleblower claims, including those related to illegal employer activities. As a qui tam attorney with decades of experience, I tenaciously fight to protect whistleblowers under federal laws like the False Claims Act and other provisions.

Schedule A Free Consultation With An Experienced Ohio Qui Tam Lawyer.

If you believe you have witnessed or have evidence of government fraud, do not hesitate to reach out. Contacting a tenacious qui tam lawyer like myself can be the first step towards exposing fraud and achieving justice. At Stepter Employment Law, we are dedicated to supporting whistleblowers with high-quality legal representation tailored to the specifics of Qui Tam law.

For more information or to schedule a free consultation, please call my office at 614-468-4100. Remember, choosing the right attorney is crucial in these cases, and as a committed qui tam attorney in Columbus, Ohio, I am here to help ensure that justice is served.