What is Qui Tam Law and How Does it Protect St. Louis Whistleblowers?
Congress passed the False Claims Act in 1863 to impose liability on contractors who defraud the government. The FCA was a direct response to the hundreds of companies that followed the Union army around the country, selling them faulty rifles and ammunition, damaged equipment, sick horses, and rancid provisions.
The qui tam provision of the FCA not only protects whistleblowers who bring unethical federal contractors to the government’s attention, but compensates them for putting their own careers at risk. Thanks to these whistleblowers, in 2018, the Justice Department recovered $2.8 billion from cases involving fraud and false claims against the government. Parallel laws in Missouri and Illinois also offer similar remedies and protection for those who expose contractors that steal from the state.
Because of the military bases and large number of government contractors in the St. Louis region, the risk for deception is especially high in our area, and Missouri and Illinois employees have to be especially diligent in identifying any of the following deceptive practices:
- Overcharging the government for products or services
- Selling defective equipment or sidestepping federal safeguards
- False billing or cross-charging
- Violations in the Truth In Negotiations Act