False Claims Act recoveries top $3 billion

There were $3 billion in settlements and judgments reported by the government in fiscal year 2019, over $2.1 billion of which arose from lawsuits filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. The government paid out $265 million to the individuals who exposed fraud by filing qui tam lawsuits.

The number of lawsuits filed under the qui tam provisions of the Act has grown significantly over the years, with 633 qui tam suits filed this past year – an average of more than 12 new cases every week.

Of the more than $3 billion in settlements and judgments, $2.6 billion relates to matters that involved the health care industry, including hospitals, physicians, pharmacies, drug and medical device manufacturers, managed care providers, hospice organizations, and laboratories. Much of that amount comes from the settlement of kickback cases. Moreover, this amount does not include recovery of additional millions of dollars for state Medicaid programs.

Procurement fraud, involving the government’s purchase of goods and services, was a main focus of the DOJ this past year. Other non-healthcare cases included settlements “to protect our military by ensuring that government contractors provide equipment that is safe, effective, and cost efficient; to protect American businesses and workers by promoting compliance with customs laws, trade agreements, visa requirements, and small business protections; and to protect other critical government programs ranging from the provision of disaster relief funds to farming subsidies.”

“Whistleblowers continue to play a critical role identifying new and evolving fraud schemes that might otherwise remain undetected,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt.  “Taxpayers have benefited greatly from these individuals who are often required to make substantial sacrifices to bring these schemes to light.”