Qui tam cases, as with most legal actions, are complex and usually take a long time to resolve. Two to three years is common, but longer is possible. Frustration is evident. There are various stages a case goes through and your involvement, as the whistleblower, is very important. Patience is an important virtue for the whistleblower. To win a qui tam case you need a lot of entities to perform well – your attorney, the Department of Justice an Assistant U.S. Attorney, government investigators, a friendly Judge, good politics, and some good luck.
The process will begin soon after retaining a qui tam attorney and your attorney has seriously examined your allegations and determined your allegations have merit and a qui tam lawsuit can be filed. The attorney will want to review all the information you possess that relates to the case and conduct enough research to shape the case in a manner that demonstrates to the U.S. Attorney and the Justice Department there are some real evidence of fraudulent activity and a realistic chance of a substantial recovery.
This stage will require your upmost and considerable involvement since you best know the fraud and all the players involved. Your attorney should be asking you for every bit of your knowledge about the fraud and potential witnesses and following up on any leads that can be realistically done before filing.
You should not be shy during this stage since you have the most knowledge of the subject matter. Be concerned if your attorney just takes down a few facts and pursues the case without the benefit of your inside knowledge. Investigations are like bank robberies – the most successful ones are inside jobs, i.e., knowing how the company works and how their systems are set up to defraud. You should be working daily with the attorneys, any investigators, and paralegals. They will want to see all your documentation and ask you the significance of each document. It will be important to stretch your memory to remember every detail about your work and the fraud that you saw. This process may take a number of meetings or phone calls over a period of time to get all the necessary information to form the complaint and disclosure statement. You may even need to try and get more information from whatever sources are available to you. Be patient with this process as it is the most important stage for filing a complaint and disclosure statement that will get the attention of the government attorneys and provide credibility to your case.
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