Experienced Phoenix Qui Tam Lawyers Helping Whistleblowers Expose Company Fraud
Protecting Arizona workers and government contractors who blow the whistle on employer foul play
At Plattner-Verderame, P.C., our Phoenix qui tam lawyers have the experience and skills to guide Arizona whistleblowers through the litigation process. In most whistleblower actions, the case has to be precisely prepared before it is presented to the DOJ. The DOJ can agree to intervene with the claim, or they can deny it. While there is a greater likelihood of success if the DOJ agrees to intervene (and we work towards getting the intervention approval), our lawyers may also be able to bring the whistleblower claim directly on behalf of the employee if the DOJ denies the claim.
What does “qui tam” mean?
Whistleblower actions that help recover funds under the False Claims Act are formally called “qui tam” actions. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) relies on workers to help them uncover companies that are cheating or acting dishonestly with regard to all types of government contracts. Businesses are required to act truthfully when they commit to doing work for the government. They cannot supply inferior goods, charge for services they did not render, overcharge, charge for unnecessary services, provide false credentials or information, or benefit in any way that does not match the contract terms.
In order to recover lost revenue and stop illegal actions against the government, laws were enacted to reward whistleblowers for having the courage to notify the Justice Department that fraud is taking place. Workers who successfully reveal fraud are entitled to a percentage (normally about 15% to 30%) of the amount recovered. The reward amounts can be quite substantial – sometimes millions of dollars depending on the nature and degree of the fraud.
Types of qui tam whistleblower claims
The main law that authorizes government whistleblower actions is the False Claims Act. The law was enacted in 1863 to monitor fraud involving wartime government contracts. Today, the False Claims Act can be used to disclose fraud involving:
- Defense contracts
- Medicare fraud, including Part D fraud
- Medicaid fraud
- Health care
- Disaster relief
- The financial sector
In False Claims Act cases, the wrongdoers may have to pay three times the amount of the fraud, plus penalties. Arizona is the third largest state for government contracts, which means the opportunity for fraud and for whistleblower actions is very high.
There are other laws that allow for whistleblower actions too. These laws include fraud against:
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- The Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
The SEC and CFTC laws are based on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Wrongful termination cases
Many employers retaliate against whistleblowers by firing them. The employer hopes, in part, that employees will be scared away from filing a whistleblower claim because they need their jobs. The various whistleblower laws provide protection for workers who bring a qui tam action by allowing them the right to sue their employer for retaliation. Our Phoenix qui tam attorneys bring retaliation lawsuits in addition to pursuing the core whistleblower claim. In wrongful termination cases, we demand that the employer:
- Rehire the worker
- Pay the worker any lost wages
- Pay punitive or treble damages for any violation of the whistleblower law
- Pay the worker’s lawyers’ fees and court costs
We demand that honest employees be treated fairly.
Do not report your employer before contacting an Arizona qui tam lawyer
There are many strict requirements for filing whistleblower cases. The whistleblower must be the first person to disclose the wrong; the wrong cannot already be public; whistleblower cases require documented evidence to prove the fraud. At Plattner Verderame, P.C., our Phoenix whistleblower attorneys understand which laws apply, what elements of proof are required, and what reward is likely. We also have experience working with the DOJ. Please phone us at 602-783-8793 or call toll free at 888-657-3573 to schedule a consultation. We can also be reached confidentially through our contact form.