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Government Whistleblowers Target Energy Firms

Law360 (June 8, 2007, 12:00 AM EDT) -- In a worrisome trend for energy companies, whistleblowers are increasingly targeting them with lawsuits brought by government auditors seeking to cash in on the recovery for underpaid oil and natural gas royalties, attorneys say.

Energy firms, which can be held liable for any underpayment of royalties on federal and Indian lands if the underpayment was made "knowingly," have recently seen a stunning uptick in the amount of so-called "qui tam" suits brought on behalf of the United States by government auditors under the False Claims Act....
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