Unfortunately, some individuals and companies steal money from federal and state governments by filing fraudulent and false claims allowing them to obtain money to which they are not entitled. Likewise, our federal and state governments have limited resources with which to track down and prosecute these offenders. Therefore, the United States government, as well as the State of Texas, have adopted laws that entitle a whistleblower who brings fraud to the attention of the proper authorities to keep a portion of the proceeds ultimately recovered in what’s legally called a qui tam lawsuit. The United States government has paid billions of dollars to individuals who have brought to their attention cases of fraud and theft in qui tam lawsuits.
When a government employee reports unlawful actions by government officials, this is a form of protected activity called “whistleblowing.” So, in addition to providing financial compensation for bringing the bad behavior to light, whistleblowers also receive job security. It is unlawful for a covered employer to retaliate against an employee because the employee engages in this protected activity. Since an employee’s protected activity does not create a bulletproof shield of immunity, employers can still discipline and/or terminate employees who “blew the whistle” if the termination is for poor performance, misconduct, or another valid reason.
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False Claims Act
Qui tam cases are different from other types of lawsuits, such as those involving personal injuries, because the person bringing the lawsuit is not the one who has been harmed. The federal False Claims Act permits a whistleblower or relator to file a qui tam lawsuit against a defendant for defrauding the federal government. The Texas False Claims Act allows whistleblowers to file qui tam lawsuits against companies that defraud Texas state government. Due to various factors, these cases often take years and sometimes decades to resolve. Thus, it is critical to engage experienced counsel.
Common types of claims include:
- Defense Contractor Claims
- Education Fraud Claims
- Fraudulent Tax Claims
- Government Vendor Fraud
- Kickback Cases
- Medicare and Medicaid Fraud
- Off-Label Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Marketing Cases
- SEC Financial Fraud Cases
Houston Whistleblower Lawyers
Anyone, at any time, can report suspected wrongdoing. But the decision to blow the whistle could affect your personal and professional life and should be made carefully—and with advice from an attorney. While these concepts can seem confusing, we can provide clarity and counsel. If you need advice or representation in a case that involves retaliation or allegations of retaliation or just want to better understand the law or your rights, we can help. The trial attorneys of Minces Rankin have a track record of success in handling these cases. If you are considering bringing a qui tam action as a whistleblower, you should consult and retain an attorney beforehand. We can help ensure that you bring your action correctly, and we may be able to help protect you against retaliation.
To speak with an experienced whistleblower attorney, please contact us today. Following an initial consultation, our attorneys can help you determine whether a whistleblower lawsuit is appropriate and will work with you to protect your confidentiality.