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Puerto Rico will now have an additional weapon in its arsenal to combat hurricane contractors who defraud the island. Recently, Governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rosselló signed House Bill 1627, which establishes the Fraudulent Claims to Programs, Contracts, and Services of the Government of Puerto Rico Act.
By passing this bill, Puerto Rico will receive an additional $1.2 billion in federal funding which was conditioned upon taking affirmative steps to supervise and prosecute those who misuse Medicaid.
The secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Health, Rafael Rodríguez, welcomed the new law by stating that it “will allow the Government to continue to recover credibility at the federal level, to process more aggressively those who misuse these funds and ensure that the funds allocated are available to better meet the needs of bona fide beneficiaries.”
With this law, Puerto Rico joins 30 U.S. states that have fraudulent claim laws. By having its own False Claims Act, in addition to bringing claims specific to the island, Puerto Rico will be able to participate and recover funds from nationwide settlements. Whistleblowers who report the fraudulent use of Government funds will also be protected by this Act.
Bracker & Marcus LLC represents relators in False Claims Act cases across the country (and wouldn't mind having a reason to travel to Puerto Rico). If you are aware of any fraud, waste, or abuse of federal, state, or now U.S. territory funds, please contact us for a free initial consultation.