Qui tam lawsuits are a type of civil lawsuit whistleblowers can bring under the False Claims Act, a law that rewards whistleblowers if their qui tam cases recover funds for the government.
In a settlement reached with Olympus America, a leading seller of medical equipment in the U.S., a corporate whistleblower is looking at a handsome $50 million dollar award for his role in a qui tam whistleblower suit.
The man, a previous employee of Olympus, alleged the company provided financial rewards to hospitals and physicians for buying Olympus endoscopes, including free equipment, lavish trips, research grants and fancy meals.
When he tried to stop the kickbacks, he was bounced from his position as a compliance officer and, subsequently, subjected to harassment and retaliation. He decided to blow the whistle on Olympus, armed with his evidence of violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, which covers medical purchases paid for by federal health care programs like Medicare.
Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers who file suit on behalf of the federal government showing that taxpayers are being ripped-off are entitled to a percentage of the money recovered. The man is set to receive one of the largest whistleblower awards in history after the company agreed to settle civil claims for $310 million.
Source: NBC News, “Whistleblower to Collect $50 Million in Olympus Medical Kickback Case”, by Tracy Connor, March 1, 2016.