False Claims Act and Its Application in Practice

Subject: Law
Pages: 5
Words: 1489
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: College

The wholeness of the law system cannot be violated in any way. This assertion provides the idea that all factual materials should correspond to the truthfulness of every word witnessed during the process of litigation. The U. S. law base is accumulated in the genuine character of its codes and prescriptions which can in some points seem to be rather strict for the offenders. In this respect, the emergence of knowingly false information which then was included in the decision-making process of the court subjects is underlined to be one of the crudest attitudes from the side which witnesses toward the official representatives of the law.

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The research paper deals with the evaluation of the False Claims Act (FCA) and its implementation in practice. Also, the research touches upon the idea of qui tam and its history. Law practice with current examples of different cases grounded on the presence of an intentional violation of the rules provided in trials and litigations on the whole.

First of all, it should be borne in mind that fraud is a crime. In this respect, the destiny of the whistleblower can be outlined with further negative consequences, due to the strictness of the law in this case. That is why a deeper analysis of qui tam and its use in contemporary law practice should be started with the history of this phenomenon in the jurisdiction of the United States and the whole Anglo-American law system.

The precedents of fraud are a rare phenomenon. Most people do not even realize that such actions are already prescribed in the code. False Claims Act presupposes in-time coordination of actions between the government and its officials along with the individual witnessing the act of fraud. This process in juridical terminology is qualified as qui tam. Here both parties in the process are considered to have a reward from the side of an offender which varies in different cases.

The idea of qui tam will not be full unless speaking about the history and etymology of this term. US Department of Justice outlines the origination of this term takes the roots from the ancient Latin phrase “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro ships”, which in turn can be translated as “he who brings a case on behalf of our lord the King, as well as for himself” (USDOJ 1). This evaluation of phrase was intended to predict every piece of false information which was witnessed by the officials and influential figures in ancient times and during the medieval period.

Such formulation of this principle was a form of encouragement for those who intentionally or unintentionally could state the fact of fraud. Looking at the psychological estimation of peoples’ behaviors, it is apparent that even secrets can be shared by individuals in their interests. Thus the proverb “nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest” found its practical significance.

Under the present-day reality, such intentions are also prescribed in the destination of qui tam for the justice system in the United States. FCA is the main anti-fraud statute of the United States government, which serves as the most appropriate regulatory means for making clear the facts of fraudulent witnessing and the idea of argumentative wholeness from the side of “relator” (Harris 2). A relator is an individual who states the fact of fraud and is accompanied by the official authority for making the offender punished and the rewards shared between the government and a relator. Here the qui tam process can face with a mere extent of a relator’s desire to have a great snatch at once using actions supported by the government for the sake of financial reward. Robert Salcido in his article explains this framework for FCA and the role of a relator by such assertion:

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This is because realtors, when they file a qui tam action, have a financial interest to state their allegations as broadly as possible and to name as many corporate defendants as possible because they are paid based upon a percentage of the proceeds the government recovers in the action (Salcido 1).

That is why in the numerous cases concerned with qui tam the government and the representatives of the court system should be aware of the background for definite evidence. A sole role is taken here by the state prosecutor and General Attorney. Their participation in qui tam cases is regulatory, i.e. they state the fact of fraud after a series of litigations. Here also the extent of suggested reward is of great interest for both parties and the party of a relator, in particular. Depending on the seriousness of the fraud the civil punishment can be similarly less or more essential. Thereupon, the U. S. Code prescribed the award for a relator with points on essential details of the case and its background in the sum of money between 10 to 25 % from the penalty payment (U. S. Code para. 17).

The statistical data about qui tam cases are increasing constantly. Thus it is known that since the year 1986 more than 4,000 suites have been registered (The Qui Tam para. 5). According to these official statistics, the proportional correlation of rewards between government and relators is enormous. The Qui Tam Online Network points out that during the above-mentioned period “the government has covered over $6 billion as a result of the suits, of which over $960 million has been paid to Relators/whistleblowers” (The Qui Tam para. 5). Such a huge sum of money intentionally makes one guess about the size of penalties that offenders pay after the official conviction in fraud.

The False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq., provides for liability for triple damages and a penalty from $5,500 to $11,000 per claim for anyone who knowingly submits or causes the submission of a false or fraudulent claim to the United States (USDOJ para. 2).

In this respect, it is rather interesting to have an idea of different situations that can be developed in further litigations. The success of such measurements can be achieved specifically for the law system when the wholeness of evidence does not seem controversial. The U. S. Code has all these prescriptions conducted in the form of an official document with paragraphs and articles which can be straightforwardly used during the trial as of qui tam.

First of all, while executing the process of qui tam complaint the document of such matter should be sealed for about two years and to keep the confidential information in strict confidence, particularly, by the Clerk of the Court (USDOJ para. 4). Continuing this idea, in the process of further investigation the Court representatives and people interested in the way of litigation have several inspects on the allegiance of the complaint, so that a judge or the Department of Justice could then come to a conclusion about options to be approved. According to this procedure, there are three options maintained and prescribed in the FCA, namely:

  • To intervene in one or more counts in pending qui tam action;
  • To decline to intervene in one or all counts of the pending qui tam action;
  • To move to dismiss the relator’s complaint (USDOJ para. 9).

The persuasion in the fact that the complaint is sealed can make a relator safe until the Department of Justice files an intervention approval. This process is rather difficult as well as it is a prerequisite for a party making a qui tam complaint to be in danger. Thus, to make the participants be on the safe side, the Court system of the United States appreciates the reciprocal participation with the individuals to make the litigation process easier and without any drawback as for the background for making complaints as well as the conduct of the qui tam consequences announcement.

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To sum up, the qui tam process can be stated in terms of FCA by pointing out the length of the process, its stages of development, and suggested outcomes in a form of rewards. The effectiveness of this process can be easily achieved when the Department of Justice reserves defense of the relator and qui tam complaint’s details. All in all, this practice in the United States is rather successful at the time.

Works cited

Harris, Thomas L. Alternate Remedies & the False Claims Act: Protecting Qui Tam Relators in Light of Government Intervention and Criminal Prosecution Decisions. Cornell Law Review. Vol. 94, No 1293. Web.

USDOJ. United States Department of Justice. False Claims Act Cases: Government Intervention in Qui Tam (Whistleblower) Suits. 2008. Web.

Salcido, Robert. The Government Declares War On Qui Tam Plaintiffs Who Lack Inside Information: The Government’s New Policy To Dismiss These Parties In False Claims Act Litigation. Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P. October, 2000. Web.

The Qui Tam Online Network. 2009. Web.

U.S. Code collection. § 3730. Civil actions for false claims. Cornell University Law School. 2009. Web.