In this episode of the GRC Academy podcast, host Jacob Hill interviews Julie Keeton Bracker about the False Claims Act and the Department of Justice’s Civil Cyber Fraud Initiative. 

Julie begins with the history of the federal False Claims Act, known as “Lincoln’s Law,” in the Civil War era and how it came to be used first for defense contracting, then in the medical arena, and finally the launch of the Cyberfraud Initiative. She details the operation of the statute, including treble damages, civil money penalties, and attorneys’ fees paid by “bad guys” who perpetrate fraud on the government, as well as explaining what “qui tam” means (and how to pronounce it!)

The pair next discusses the types of fraud commonly seen in the FCA context, and the process for how a case is originated, developed by the firm, and investigated by the government, including how long each part of the process typically takes. Julie answers the question of “what happens if I was part of the fraud myself, can I still bring a qui tam?” and the risks and rewards of choosing to become a whistleblower. Julie then outlines what the options are for relators after the government makes its intervention decision – no matter whether that is to intervene or decline – and what the statistics are on cases brought under the FCA on an annual basis. 

Julie explains how the SPRS scores a company puts into the Department of Defense database can constitute a material misrepresentation of their cyber-readiness and compliance and why that can form the basis of an FCA case, common scenarios that can get a company in trouble, and what she believes a company can do to mitigate its risks if it has noncompliance issues. Jacob asks how MSP’s factor into the analysis, and the pair discuss what “knowing” noncompliance means under the False Claims Act. Julie also explains how “materiality” limits FCA cases that she would be interested in filing, and answers the question of how damages may be approached in these cases.

Finally, the pair discuss the current state of the Penn State and Georgia Tech cases, both of which were brought by Bracker & Marcus. Julie urges those who are concerned that government data is being put at risk to come forward for a free consultation and help protect national security.

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