About Qui Tam
Qui tam (Black’s Law Dictionary pronunciation: kwày tæm) is an abbreviation from the Latin “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro sic ipso in hoc parte sequitur” meaning “who as well for the king as for himself sues in this matter.”
Black’s Law Dictionary defines a qui tam action as “an action brought by an informer, under a statute which establishes a penalty for the commission or omission of a certain act, and provides that the same shall be recoverable in a civil action, part of the penalty to go to any person who will bring such action and the remainder to the state or some other institution.”
Qui tam is a provision of the Federal Civil False Claims Act that allows private citizens to file a lawsuit in the name of the U.S. Government charging fraud by government contractors and others who receive or use government funds, and share in any money recovered.
This unique law was enacted by Congress in order to effectively identify and prosecute government procurement and program fraud and recover revenue lost as a result of the fraud.
The qui tam provision has had the effect of privatizing government legal remedies by allowing private citizens to act as “private attorneys general” in the effort to prosecute government procurement and program fraud. Although most of the early successes in qui tam actions have been against defense contractors, more and more actions are being filed that involve other governmental agencies such as Health and Human Services, Environment, Energy, Education, NASA, Agriculture and Transportation. U.S. recoveries under the False Claims Act, since the 1986 Amendments, has totaled more than $28 billion.
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