Civil Forfeiture Proceedings and Qui Tam Litigation

Civil Forfeiture Proceedings

Often filed parallel to a related criminal case, a civil forfeiture action is an action by which the United States Government sues a particular item of property

The theory behind suing the property is that it was utilized during the commission of a crime. A nuance of the law is that the actual owner of the property does not have to be adjudicated guilty of any criminal act; the government only need to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the property was used during the commission of a crime. The actual owner of the property does have an available defense known as the “innocent owner” defense.

If your property is subject to a civil forfeiture action by the government, you need attorneys experienced in litigating these matters to ensure you do not lose your property.

Qui Tam Actions

Often referred to as “whistleblower” actions, qui tam claims are controlled by the False Claims Act.

Qui tam actions are lawsuits filed by individuals not associated with the government, which allege a particular fraud against the United States Government. Once such an action is filed, the federal government has the option of intervening in the law suit to prosecute the case; however, if the government chooses to not prosecute the case the individual who brought the original action still has the right to proceed with the case on his or her own behalf.

The benefits received by the individuals alleging the fraud against the United States Government is usually a percentage of what is recovered by the government.