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Qui tam whistleblower suits spotlight academic research fraud

Often it is not an agent or department within the federal government that espies fraud that is stealing the money of American taxpayers.

Instead, it is frequently a well-placed insider -- commonly an employee -- within an industry who is best positioned to alert regulators and law enforcers that federal funds have been fraudulently obtained and that action needs to be taken to recoup lost monies and obtain justice.

So-called qui tam whistleblower lawsuits are nothing new. In fact, and as noted in a recent article discussing whistleblower litigation under the federal False Claims Act in the context of academic research, individuals have been stepping forth on behalf of the government to spotlight fraud for more than a century and a half.

The above-cited article notes that whistleblower activity has surged in recent years, with government officials acknowledging -- and applauding -- money that is taken back through the efforts of individuals who can identify fraudulent actors and their activities. Reportedly, many hundreds of suits are filed annually under the False Claims Act, with the federal government recouping more than $3.5 billion annually over the past several years.

A recent case involving Duke University signals that the terrain for qui tam suits is expanding. A federal whistleblower lawsuit was unsealed just last month that alleges the occurrence of fraud involving university research applying to more than 60 grants valued at around $200 million.

One commentator states that the Duke matter "should scare all institutions around the country," adding that it could "open the floodgates" to whistleblowing suits involving academic research at other institutions.

Any person having questions regarding the False Claims Act and whistleblowing litigation can contact a proven whistleblower attorney for candid guidance and, when necessary, strong legal representation.

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