It was a near record year for False Claims Act recoveries, as the Justice Department secured $3.8 billion in settlements and judgments from cases involving fraudulent claims against the United States government in 2013. In addition, there were 752 whistleblower lawsuits, the most ever filed, according to the Justice Department.
The recovery total was the second highest in history, surpassed only by 2012’s near $5 billion haul. Since 2009, the federal government has recovered $17 billion, accounting for nearly half of all of the money recovered since the law was amended in 1986. As usual, the bulk of the recoveries in 2013 came from healthcare fraud ($2.6 billion), with procurement fraud taking second ($890 million).
The False Claims Act is the government’s civil defense against companies and individuals filing fraudulent claims for federal funds. Medicare, Medicaid, government contracts, school lunches and disaster assistance are just some of the areas covered under the law. The 1986 amendment included measures to increase incentives for potential whistleblowers, which has led to an increase in suits filed and recoveries.
Many false claims actions are filed under qui Ttam provisions, allowing regular citizens to file claims of fraud on behalf of the government. If the case is won, the whistleblower is entitled to a percentage of the money recovered.
A good example of this was the recent whistleblower case against J.P. Morgan, in which the financial firm settled with the Unites States government, paying $614 million for certifying thousands of Federal Housing Administration and Veteran’s Affairs loans, without meeting the proper federal underwriting requirements.
The whistleblower in this case, a former employee of the J.P Morgan, was awarded $63.9 million for the information provided to the government. He initially sued under the False Claims Act in 2008 before the federal government joined his case, according to Reuters.
The Qui Tam attorneys at Begelman & Orlow, P. C. have been defending the rights of residents all over the U.S., including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, for over 115 years. If you think you have a false claims act case, contact us today for a free consultation. Call us at 866-627-7052.