The scary answer for businesses on who can file a qui-tam or whistleblower case is anyone who has the information. That means this person can range anywhere from the janitor who finds the paperwork in the trash, the secretary of the President who can see what is going on, or the Vice President in charge of the contract in question. It can also be filed by a competitor who gets the information when an employee leaves and goes over to the competitor and gives it to them.
Anyone can bring a qui-tam whistleblower case if they have the information. The key to bringing a qui-tam case is to bring it fast because there is a “first to file” rule. This means that the person who gets to the government first in a disclosure letter is the person who owns that qui-tam case.
Another thing that is very important is that you have original source information. In other words, you cannot bring a qui tam case based on what you found on the internet, or what you found out in public sourced documentation. It needs to be from an internal source and you need it to be private. For you to be the relator and get your qui tam case filed and perfected you need the information to be closed. This makes it so that you are giving the US Attorney’s Office something of value, as well as something that they couldn’t have found out elsewhere.
So, remember, original source; remember, first to file; and that you need internal documentation to be able to prove that this happened.
This explains in simple terms who is able file a qui-tam or whistleblower case and what you need in order for the case to be filed.