According to a press release issued by the Department of Justice, the federal government recovered over $3.8 billion from False Claims Act cases in 2013. Of the $3.8 billion, $2.9 billion resulted from whistleblower suits filed under the qui tam provisions of the Act. This is the fourth year in a row recoveries under the False Claims Act have topped $3 billion, and this year’s number is surpassed only by last year’s record-breaking recovery of nearly $5 billion. Although health care fraud continues to drive record recoveries, this year prosecutions of procurement and defense contracting fraud returned a record setting $890 million to the U.S. Treasury.
“It has been another banner year for civil fraud recoveries, but more importantly, it has been a great year for the taxpayer and for the millions of Americans, state agencies and organizations that benefit from government programs and contracts,” said Assistant Attorney General Delery.
Since the Civil War, the False Claims Act has been the government’s primary tool to redress false claims for government funds and property under government contracts. In 1986, Congress, led by Senator Charles Grassley and Representative Howard Berman, strengthened the Act by increasing incentives for whistleblowers to file lawsuits on behalf of the government, which has led to more investigations and greater recoveries. Additional improvements to the False Claims Act and other fraud statutes were implemented in 2009, with the passage of the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009, and then in 2010, with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which provides additional incentives and protections for whistleblowers and bolsters key provisions of the federal health care Anti-Kickback Statute.
In 2013, whistleblowers filed 752 qui tam cases – 100 more than the record set the previous fiscal year. According to the federal government, the courageous individuals who initiated the qui tam suits received more than $345 million.
The “continued success,” Assistant Attorney General Delery emphasized, “in recovering fraudulent claims for taxpayer money this past fiscal year is a product of the tremendous skill and dedication of the people who worked on these cases and investigations and continue to work hard to protect against the misuse of taxpayer dollars.”
The Department of Justice’s press release is available here.
If you are aware of government contracting fraud and are looking for a qui tam attorney to explore filing a federal False Claims Act or a state False Claims Act claim, Behn & Wyetzner, Chartered has years of expertise in this unique area of whistleblower law. Please feel free to contact us.