Anyone with knowledge of fraud against federal programs can be a qui tam whistleblower and file a lawsuit; however, if a private party or the government has already filed a False Claims Act lawsuit based on the same evidence, an individual will be unable to bring a lawsuit.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a qui tam whistleblower must file a civil complaint under seal with the court and also “serve a copy of the complaint and a ‘written disclosure of substantially all material evidence and information’ possessed by the relator [whistleblower] on both the Attorney General and the United States Attorney (USA) pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4. or Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.” From this point, the government must decide whether or not to take over the case. If the government “does not notify the court that it is taking over the case, it becomes the relator’s to litigate.”
It is recommended to seek out a whistleblower lawyer who will know the ins and outs of the False Claims Act and can best assist qui tam whistleblowers.
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