Understanding The False Claims Act
The False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. § 3729, et seq., provides a civil cause of action against anyone who submits, or causes another to submit, a false or fraudulent claim to the government. In general, FCA litigation is commonly referred to as qui tam litigation. Notably, the False Claims Act carries treble damages and statutory penalties for each “false claim” submitted as well as attorney fees and costs of bringing the civil action. The False Claims Act entices whistleblowers to file suit on behalf of the government in exchange for significant monetary awards which can climb to 30 percent of the recovered funds.
If the Government chooses to intervene, it prosecutes the claim without any necessity for the whistleblower to fund or pursue the litigation. If the Government declines to intervene in the suit, the whistleblower must proceed on his/her own. In addition to the civil liability at stake in such cases, the same allegations often spawn criminal investigations and prosecutions brought by the United States Department of Justice.
On December 21, 2017, the United States Department of Justice published that it had obtained approximately $3.7 billion in settlements and judgments from such cases in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2017. Since the FCA was amended in 1986, the total dollar figure stands at approximately $56 billion. Today, FCA cases most often originate in the following sectors: (1) Health Care Fraud; (2) Housing and Mortgage Fraud; and (3) Procurement Fraud.
Sher Garner’s depth and experience enable us to advise and defend individuals and companies involved in FCA investigations and actions. Our team at Sher Garner Cahill Richter Klein & Hilbert, L.L.C., includes former federal prosecutors and former corporate counsel who are well-equipped to handle these “bet the company” cases.