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Choosing the Right Qui Tam Law Firm

When you are considering blowing the whistle on fraud or corruption, one of the most important choices you can make is selecting the right qui tam law firm. The law firm you choose can help determine how seriously certain federal agencies will take your case, what kinds of evidence you may be asked to gather, as well as how much attention and follow through will be given to your claim.

Reporting fraud, especially at your own company, is a serious decision. Many qui tam relators hesitate to come forward because they worry about possible retaliation, professional harm done during the course of their claim, or derailing their own goals by undertaking a lengthy legal process. The right qui tam law firm can help address your concerns and ensure that your rights, rewards, and protections as a whistleblower are adequately looked after.

Cover your bases and address your specific concerns about becoming a whistleblower before you speak up. Contact a qualified qui tam lawyer today for a free, confidential consultation. Our team at Tycko & Zavareei LLP can help answer any questions you might have, as well as walk you through the reporting process so you know what to expect. Don’t let your worries stop you from doing the right thing and collecting a possible reward.

What is Qui Tam Law?

Qui tam law is an area of federal and state law that empowers whistleblowers to report fraud and theft of government funds. In qui tam law, a private individual can act as a qui tam relator, or whistleblower, and bring an action on behalf of the government.

In cases where the claim is successful in recovering stolen government funds, the whistleblower is entitled to receive anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of the overall amount recovered. In cases involving extensive or ongoing fraud, the whistleblower reward may number into the thousands or even millions of dollars. As experts in the field of qui tam litigation, the law firm of Tycko & Zavareei LLP has assisted with the recovery of over $7 billion in defrauded government funds.

What Types of Cases Might Require a Qui Tam Law Firm?

Healthcare Fraud

One of the most common areas of qui tam law is healthcare fraud. Medicare costs alone amount for around 13 percent of annual federal spending, totaling $767 billion in 2022 fiscal year. Unfortunately, millions of dollars are defrauded from the system each year, as unscrupulous healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies come up with new ways to drain taxpayer funds in order to line their own pockets. If you work in healthcare and have information about any of the following forms of fraud taking place, you may be able to become a protected whistleblower:

  • Upcoding, or charging for more expensive procedures than were actually provided
  • Kickbacks, or offering payments in exchange for patient referrals or certain prescription drugs
  • Prescribing unnecessary procedures, or inflating risk scores per patient. This kind of fraud is especially common under Medicare Part C plans.

Securities, Commodities, and Bank Fraud

Financial fraud can be particularly difficult to spot for outsiders and tends to result in high rewards for whistleblowers. Certain kinds of securities fraud, mortgage fraud, insider trading, and more are reportable under the:

  • Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program
  • Bank Fraud Whistleblower Program
  • CFTC Whistleblower Program
  • False Claims Act
  • Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989

If you suspect that you can blow the whistle on financial fraud, do not wait to speak up. Coming forward can help avoid implicating you in white collar crimes, as well as earn you a whistleblower reward for your information.

Customs and Tariffs Fraud

Reporting customs violations, whether as an insider, a consumer, or a competitor, can help keep the import system fair for everyone. Because many import taxes rely on self-reporting and an honor system, there can be many opportunities for fraud. If you blow the whistle on deceptive self-reporting, you may be able to collect a customs and tariffs whistleblower reward. A good qui tam law firm can help determine whether your case is eligible today.

Tax Fraud

Whistleblowers who report tax fraud in cases that involve at least $2 million can receive anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of the overall amount collected by the IRS through a mandatory reward process.

Government Contracts Fraud

Government contract violations can be particularly damaging for taxpayers who rely on private contractors for critical public services. Government contractors who commit fraud can do extensive damage in fields such as defense, infrastructure, energy, private prisons, and environmental protection. Examples of common government contract fraud that can be reported with the help of a qui tam law firm include:

  • False statements in bidding contracts
  • Misrepresentations of the total cost of a project, or “underbidding,” in order to receive a contract
  • Bid-rigging, or offering or receiving kickbacks
  • Engaging in practices such as “cross-charging” or improper cost allocation
  • Delivering substandard services while certifying full eligibility
  • Failing to maintain adequate cybersecurity or failing to report cybercrime to the government while under contract

Other Government Programs Fraud

Research grants, student loans, crop insurance payments, and more can all be targets of fraud and drain taxpayer funds. If you have information about any kind of false claim or statement to the government that results in undue payment, reimbursement, or reduced tax liability, you may be able to become a whistleblower by speaking to the right qui tam law firm.

Things to Consider When Hiring a Qui Tam Law Firm

Area of expertise

Qui tam law is the main area of expertise at Tycko & Zavareei LLP. Our lawyers are experts in handling national and state-level cases involving financial fraud, healthcare fraud, tax evasion and underreporting, government program misrepresentation, contract issues, and more. Qui tam law can be a complex legal area, and not just any law firm can take on a qui tam case successfully. When choosing your legal representation, it is imperative to consider whether they have successfully represented qui tam relators before.

Past success and testimonials

The law firm of Tycko & Zavareei LLP has experience settling multi-million dollar cases involving big-name plaintiffs. Our whistleblower successes involve those who reported successfully on Big Pharma, financial institutions, unscrupulous healthcare providers, and more. The whistleblowers we represent are regularly awarded high percentages of their claims, due in part to our meticulous follow-through and ability to cooperate seamlessly with federal investigation.

Attorney experience in qui tam law

When you are comparing whistleblower lawyers, it may be useful to inquire about where they went to law school, how long they have been practicing law, and what experience they have – especially in the field of qui tam recovery. Law is a complex profession. Some lawyers truly are better than others, and credentials are one way for you to determine that difference. At Tycko & Zavareei LLP, our qui tam attorneys are all top graduates of top-tier law schools, and our partners have decades of experience handling the most complex legal matters. We believe that we practice law at the highest level of skill and sophistication and that our clients benefit from our expertise.

Resources

Whistleblower litigation can be a long, expensive, time-consuming process. For instance, the average wait time for a payout through the SEC Whistleblower Program is currently four years. Does the law firm you are considering have the resources necessary to stick with your case and see it through to completion? At Tycko & Zavareei LLP, we have the financial resources and stability to fund necessary litigation expenses for whistleblower cases. We also have the capacity to follow through on cases where the government declines to intervene on whistleblower claims.

Personal attention

Some law firms are affectionately referred to in the profession as “mills.” Their business model is to sign up as many cases as possible, then devote limited resources to each case and hope that some small percentage of them end up as easy “hits.” If you contact an attorney who seems eager to have you sign a retention agreement before he or she has done any serious investigation or analysis of your case, you are probably dealing with a “mill.” At Tycko & Zavareei LLP, we follow a different model. We devote substantial time and resources to investigating whistleblower cases up-front before we make a decision about whether to take on the client. We take on only a small number of new whistleblower clients each year, and we commit ourselves to do the best that we can for those clients.

Experience litigating qui tam cases

Qui tam litigation can come with a series of personal and professional pitfalls for whistleblowers. The legal team at Tycko & Zavareei LLP have years of experience successfully navigating qui tam cases to whistleblower satisfaction. Our discrete, experienced team understands the scope of legal issues on display in qui tam law and will see every case through to the best possible finish for the whistleblower who first brought the matter to our attention.

Methods of payment

Almost all whistleblower cases are handled on a contingency-fee basis. This means that the law firm does not bill you for its time. Instead, the law firm is paid a percentage of whatever it is able to recover on your behalf. However, not all qui tam law firms offer the same percentages, services, and terms. Wouldn’t you rather keep more of the recovery for yourself? At Tycko & Zavareei LLP, we offer very competitive terms and are often able to tailor our contingency fee agreements to the needs of the specific client.

Questions to Keep in Mind When Hiring a Qui Tam Law Firm

The following represent key questions to keep in mind when choosing a qui tam whistleblower law firm to represent you during your claim. The answers to these questions may influence the outcome of your case, as well as how your claim will be handled. When selecting a qui tam law firm, choose with care, since the area of law involves a high level of expertise. Some ways to evaluate whether you are selecting one of the best qui tam law firms involve asking these questions:

Does the firm have experience litigating cases in your industry or trade?

Tycko & Zavareei LLP has an arsenal of dedicated qui tam lawyers who have successfully handled whistleblower cases in areas like government contract fraud, pharmaceutical fraud, healthcare fraud, securities and commodities fraud, mortgage fraud, defense contracts fraud, and so much more.

Does the firm’s website act as a referral service, or is it an actual qui tam law firm?

Some qui tam law firms are only able to act as referral sources for whistleblowers who come to them with a qui tam complaint. Tycko & Zavareei LLP, on the other hand, is a specialized firm that has attorneys who focus exclusively on cases of fraud and qui tam law. We are often the ones other attorneys call when they need support on a qui tam case and legal expertise.

Has the firm worked with the US Department of Justice before?

Your qui tam firm will be your main point of contact with the US Department of Justice. They will be the ones who persuade investigators to take on the case and follow up in cases where the government declines to intervene or in case of bureaucratic delays. Because whistleblower payouts are often decided based on the level and readiness of cooperation, having a highly professional law firm by your side is crucial to meeting deadlines and ensuring the highest possible payout.

If the government decides not to intervene, will the firm still pursue your case?

If the government decides not to intervene in your case, you may still be able to pursue a qui tam lawsuit with the right law firm by your side. While the process may be more complicated, the possible rewards for whistleblowers are higher in cases where the government declines to intervene. However, less experienced law firms may balk at the idea of taking on a large corporate interest when the government has already decided to remain hands-off in the claim.

How successful has the firm been when litigating qui tam cases in the past?

Tycko & Zavareei LLP has recovered millions on behalf of the federal government and whistleblowers who have received payouts for their valuable information. Your qui tam lawyer will be your main line of defense when it comes to protecting your professional reputation and ensuring the best possible outcome for your case. Do not entrust sensitive information to a firm with shoddy practices, a less-than-stellar reputation, or non-specialized qui tam lawyers.

What Should I Know Before Hiring a Qui Tam Law Firm?

What is a qui tam relator?

A qui tam relator is someone who comes forward with information about financial fraud committed against the government. A qui tam relator may also be called a whistleblower. Their information about false claims made to the government may result in a reward. A qui tam relator may speak up about fraud at the federal, state, or local level.

Importantly, a qui tam relator is different than a workplace whistleblower who points out unfair hiring practices, unsafe working conditions, or other kinds of OSHA violations.

Who can be a qui tam relator?

Anyone can become a qui tam relator, but the most common whistleblowers are:

  • Employees
  • Competitors
  • Other industry insiders

Additionally, you do not have to be a US citizen to blow the whistle on fraud. You also do not have to work for the company that is engaging in the allegedly fraudulent behavior, or in the field in question at all. Whistleblowers may be family members who realize that fraudulent financial practices are happening, part-time contractors, or even just concerned members of the public who are able to piece together a potential fraud scheme using publicly available data. However, since the information involved in blowing the whistle is often sensitive or industry specific, employees are usually the first to come forward.

How can I prove my case and collect evidence?

Once you know what to look for, there is often more evidence available to prove wrongdoing in qui tam lawsuits than you may have initially realized. Just some examples of helpful material to show to a qui tam attorney include, but are not limited to:

  • Slack messages or other online chat records
  • Text messages
  • Emails
  • Company documents
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Records of complaints made to Human Resources

Even initial contracts, hiring paperwork, or onboarding documents that show how the company has promised to conduct business may be useful in proving fraud.

What is the potential recovery in a successful qui tam case?

A whistleblower may be able to collect a substantial reward for coming forward with valuable, original information about potential fraud. Successful qui tam cases filed under the False Claims Act or the SEC, IRS, or CFTC Whistleblower Programs may result in a payout for up to 30 percent of the overall recovered funds. Some of these whistleblower rewards are mandatory in exchange for useful information, whereas amounts may vary in certain cases based on whether the government pursues the case, the level of cooperation from the whistleblower, and any possible culpability in planning or perpetrating the fraud.

How can I file a whistleblower lawsuit?

While state qui tam laws vary, most qui tam cases are governed under the federal False Claims Act. In order to file a whistleblower claim, the first step is to connect with a qualified qui tam law firm. The expert qui tam attorneys at Tycko & Zavareei LLP will be able to advise you on what kinds of evidence are admissible, and what kind of proof is off-limits. They can also help convince the Department of Justice or the Securities and Exchange Commission, depending on which area of fraud your case concerns, to open an investigation. If they are not successful in bringing the case to government investigators, it may be possible to pursue a separate qui tam claim with firm resources and still follow up on your whistleblower case.

Speak with an Elite Qui Tam Law Firm

Tycko & Zavareei LLP is one of the top qui tam law firms in the nation and, as such, has assisted with the recovery of over $7 billion in qui tam cases. We value whistleblowers and fight for their protection as well as for the possible rewards they can receive.

For more information about how you can do the right thing and become a whistleblower, contact us today for a confidential case evaluation. Speaking to one of our qui tam experts is free and confidential. Let us evaluate the facts of your case and help advise you on how best to proceed for your own interests, as well as for the public good.

How can we help you?

Confidential Case Evaluation

Our experienced qui tam attorneys are available for a confidential, no-cost, no-commitment, initial evaluation of your case. Call us now at (202) 973-0900, or begin the process by completing our Confidential Case Evaluation Form.
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