Recently here in Cleveland, Ohio, a doctor was awarded $1.5 million for exposing medical malpractice at a local hospital. The claim involved illegal patient referals to doctors at the hospital so that the hospital could bill Medicare and earn more money. When a citizen becomes aware of false or fraudulent claims to the government, the False Claims Act allows private citizens to file lawsuits to recover damages and penalties for the government. These types of actions are also called qui tam actions, specifically allow citizens who "blow the whistle" concerning fraud against the government to be compensated in the form of a percentage of the recovery against the wrongdoer. The percentage awarded can be anywhere from 15% to 30% of the recovery. Almost any action that involves fraud against the government in trying to obtain payment of government funds, can be subject to a qui tam action. This type of action is very important in that it allows citizens to help combat fraud against the government.
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