In 2014, the federal government recovered $5.7 billion under the False Claims Act, according to Fierce Health Payer. Whistleblowers accounted for a significant portion of False Claims Act claims in 2014, with more than 700 qui tam lawsuits filed for the second year in a row. When a whistleblower files a qui tam case, the whistleblower is allowed by law to obtain a portion of money the government is able to recover when fraud is found. With $5.7 billion in fraudulently paid-out funds at stake, filing a qui tam lawsuit can be very lucrative for those who are aware of wrongdoing and who have evidence showing the government is being deceived.
If you believe you have a qui tam claim, contact a Houston whistleblower lawyer as soon as possible. You have a limited period of time to act and if you wait too long, your case may be time barred and you will not be able to obtain any money for doing your part to help the government fight fraud and waste of taxpayer dollars.
A Qui Tam Case Must be Filed Within the Statue of Limitations
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling recently addressed statute of limitations in qui tam cases. According to Business Insurance, which reported about the case, a former employee of government contractor KBR Inc. had filed a lawsuit under the federal False Claims Act alleging that KBR improperly billed the U.S. government for water purification services in Iraq. The company began providing water purification services in May 2005, but allegedly began billing the government for purification services at two sites earlier in the year when no such services were being provided. Both KBR and Halliburton, which spun KBR off on 2007, were named defendants in the lawsuit.
KBR argued for dismissal of the case because the statute of limitations had expired. However, the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act extends court deadlines during times of war, and the employee of KBR who had filed the qui tam lawsuit argued the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act should apply. The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of plaintiff in 2013, but KBR appealed and the U.S. Supreme Court determined the Suspension of Limitations Act did not apply to civil claims.
The vote was 9-0 and the court made clear the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act applies only to criminal fraud cases. While the Supreme Court sent the case back for further proceedings, the time frame for making a civil fraud claim will not be extended by the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act.
Determining when fraud began and ended and when the statute of limitations expires can be complicated, but it is best to act quickly if you have evidence of fraud or wrongdoing against the government. Do not wait to file your claim or you could be prevented from moving forward with your qui tam lawsuit.