United States ex. rel. vs. The Hamilton Securities, Group, Inc. and Hamilton Securities Advisory Services, et al. (1:96-CV-1258) SEALED
United States District Court for the District of Columbia Qui tam
A qui tam is a lawsuit filed by a private party, called a "relator," on behalf of the government." 31 U.S.C Sec. 3729-373 (1988). The qui tam allows the relator to step into the governmentís shoes and file a lawsuit on its behalf for violation of the False Claims Act. "Qui tam" is Latin for "he who brings an action for the King as well as for himself." If the case is successful, the relator is entitled to a percentage of the government's recovery up to twenty-five percent. By statue, "treble" damages are three times the amount that the fact-finder determines is owed. Qui tam lawsuits are sealed by statute in part to protect the governmentís investigation until the Department of Justice makes the decision whether to "adopt", or pursue, the case. During an investigation, when the government serves a subpoena, called a "Civil Investigative Demand", on a target of the investigation, the statute requires that the subpoena disclose the nature of the alleged violations of the false claims law and the applicable provisions of law alleged to be violated. 31 U.S.C. Sec. 3733(a)(2)(A) (1994).
Hamilton was not informed that it was named as a defendant in the qui tam action until December of 1997, one year and a half after the suit was filed.
On May 21, 1999, Hamilton filed a Motion to Unseal the File and Opposition to the Attorney Generalís Request for Further Extensions with the district court. The motion was subsequently put under seal by the court and is therefore not available for viewing at this time.