How the Department of Justice Handles Qui Tam Suits

The Department of Justice has jurisdiction over Qui Tam cases, but much of it depends on the agency of the government that has been defrauded. If it is the Defense Department, that may be a different type of investigator who would be assigned to the case, possibly a Defense Department employee. If it is a healthcare fraud case, sometimes if a person is under investigation, a different investigator is likely to be involved. It depends on the type of case, and most Department of Justice attorneys will attempt to get an investigator with some level of understanding of the particular agency that is involved in the case.

Read below to learn more about how the Department of Justice handles Qui Tam suits.

How Does the Department of Justice Treat Qui Tam Suits?

The Department of Justice handles Qui Tam cases very seriously. Attorneys do not always agree with the decisions that the government may make about these cases. Everyone understands that whistleblowers do not come forward with this type of information lightly. At least everyone on the prosecution side of the table understands that defense lawyers may have a different view, but it is a serious matter to file a False Claims Act case in federal court. Most DOJ attorneys take the investigation of these cases and review these cases as serious. A person has to remember that when the government is a victim of fraud, usually a great deal of money is being taken. Also, an important function of the government is being potentially compromised. It could be anything from the safety of patients to the safety of troops. It could be about forming policy relating to the safety of construction workers potentially being upset by contractors in the field. These cases are about as serious as they could possibly be built on a financial and not on a public policy basis.

Prosecutorial Discretion

The Department of Justice has a great deal of discretion to determine whether they are going to intervene in a case. False Claims Act cases are now reviewed by the Department of Justice for criminal activity. That is completely at their discretion. Private attorneys have no say over that at all, so, the DOJ attorneys have a great deal of discretion. They do not have to state the reasons for declining to intervene in a case. It is at their discretion whether they intervened in the case, and it would be the lawyer and the whistleblower’s decision whether to pursue without their support.

Parties Involved in the Qui Tam Suit

A relator will mostly work with their attorney. In fact, the Department of Justice typically will not contact a whistleblower except through their attorney and will not meet with a whistleblower who is represented by counsel without counsel present.

The DOJ has attorneys from civil fraud. They also have U.S. Attorneys in 94 districts in the United States, where there are courts. Usually, an attorney from the local U.S. Attorney’s office, as well as an attorney from the Department of Justice, shares some level of responsibility for handling the matter.

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