2011 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 44: Miscellaneous Civil Law Matters
Article 9: Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, 44-9-1 through 44-9-14
Section 44-9-7: Awards to qui tam plaintiff and the state.
44-9-7. Awards to qui tam plaintiff and the state.
A. Except as otherwise provided in this section, if the state proceeds with an action brought by a qui tam plaintiff and the state prevails in the action, the qui tam plaintiff shall receive:
(1) at least fifteen percent but not more than twenty-five percent of the proceeds of the action or settlement, depending upon the extent to which the qui tam plaintiff substantially contributed to the prosecution of the action; or
(2) no more than ten percent of the proceeds of the action or settlement if the court finds that the action was based primarily on disclosures of specific information, not provided by the qui tam plaintiff, relating to allegations or transactions in a criminal, civil, administrative or legislative hearing, proceeding, report, audit or investigation or from the news media, taking into account the significance of the information and the role of the qui tam plaintiff in advancing the case to litigation. However, if the attorney general determines and certifies in writing that the qui tam plaintiff provided a significant contribution in advancing the case, then the qui tam plaintiff shall receive the share of proceeds set forth in Paragraph (1) of this subsection.
B. If the state does not proceed with an action brought by a qui tam plaintiff and the state prevails in the action, the qui tam plaintiff shall receive an amount that is not less than twenty-five percent or more than thirty percent of the proceeds of the action or settlement, as the court deems reasonable for collecting the civil penalty and damages.
C. Whether or not the state proceeds with an action brought by a qui tam plaintiff:
(1) if the court finds that the action was brought by a person that planned or initiated the violation of Section 3 of the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act [44-9-3 NMSA 1978] upon which the action was based, the court may reduce the share of the proceeds that the person would otherwise receive under Subsection A or B of this section, taking into account the role of the person as the qui tam plaintiff in advancing the case to litigation and any relevant circumstances pertaining to the violation; or
(2) if the person bringing the action is convicted of criminal conduct arising from that person's role in the violation of Section 3 of the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act upon which the action was based, that person shall be dismissed from the civil action and shall not receive a share of the proceeds. The dismissal shall not prejudice the right of the state to continue the action.
D. Any award to a qui tam plaintiff shall be paid out of the proceeds of the action or settlement, if any. The qui tam plaintiff shall also receive an amount for reasonable expenses incurred in the action plus reasonable attorney fees that shall be paid by the defendant.
E. The state is entitled to all proceeds collected in an action or settlement not awarded to a qui tam plaintiff. The state is also entitled to reasonable expenses incurred in the action plus reasonable attorney fees, including the fees of the attorney general or state agency counsel that shall be paid by the defendant. Proceeds and penalties collected by the state shall be deposited as follows:
(1) proceeds in the amount of the false claim paid and attorney fees and costs shall be returned to the fund or funds from which the money, property or services came;
(2) civil penalties shall be deposited in the current school fund pursuant to Article 12, Section 4 of the constitution of New Mexico; and
(3) all remaining proceeds shall be deposited as follows:
(a) one-half into a fund for the use of the attorney general in furtherance of the obligations imposed upon that office by the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act [44-9-1 NMSA 1978]; and
(b) one-half into the general fund.
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