committed against the federal government to file suit on behalf of the federal government to recover the wrongful
proceeds of the fraud on behalf of the taxpayers of the United States. Clients who file False Claims Act cases are
often referred to as “whistle-blowers” or “insiders.” Attorneys sometimes refer to them as qui tam Relators.
Usually, the fraud these clients know about is committed by the client’s own employer or someone with whom the
client or client’s employer deals.
The False Claims Act was initially passed by Congress during the Civil War, when the government was being
relentlessly bilked by fraudulent suppliers to the Union army. The False Claims Act underwent substantial
revisions in the 1980's.
False Claims Act cases have unique procedural requirements. The client who feels he or she may have a viable
False Claims Act case should contact an attorney who is experienced in False Claims Act law immediately.
Unlike most cases, False Claims Act cases are filed “under seal” - i.e., in secret, so that the federal government
(generally through the local United States Attorney’s Office) can have time to investigate the case’s merits. If a
case has potential, generally the government will seek, with the consent of the client (Relator)’s counsel, to extend
the seal period so that a detailed investigation can be conducted. At some point, the government must decide
whether to “intervene” in the False Claims Act case filed by the Relator. If the government chooses to intervene,
then it will take charge of the prosecution of the case, and the Relator and his/her counsel will assist the
government attorneys in prosecuting the matter. Should the government decide not to intervene, then the Relator
and his or her counsel must decide whether to continue with the case on a “non-intervened” basis - i.e., without
the assistance of the government. Non-intervened cases are far less likely to be successful than intervened ones.
If a False Claims Act case is successful, the Relator receives a percentage of the proceeds of the lawsuit. This
percentage is often referred to as the “Relator’s share.” The Relator’s share varies from case to case, and
depends on statutory factors, such as whether the case is an intervened one, and the degree of assistance the
Relator and his or her attorney provide to the government in prosecuting the case.
False Claims Act law is complicated. Few attorneys in the Midwest have experience in this type of law. If you
are a potential relator, please choose your attorney carefully, not just for your sake, but also for that of your
|"Thank you a million times|
|over for presenting at this |
year's TAFEF conference.
You did a wonderful job of
orchestrating an insightful
look in to §3730(h) [of the
False Claims Act]. Truly a
|The choice of a lawyer is an
important decision and should not
be based solely on advertisements.
|LAW OFFICES OF SUSAN J. WIRTHLIN
|THE FALSE CLAIMS ACT