What is the False Claims Act
Navigating government contracts can be a confusing process. Discover the key statutes and regulations surrounding False Claims Act and Be Prepared to Defend Against Federal Charges.
The False Claims Act (FCA), 31 USC 3729 -3733 originally enacted in 1863, is a piece of federal legislation that establishes civil liability for individuals and entities who knowingly make false or fraudulent claims for payment from the United States government. “Knowingly” under the FCA includes having actual knowledge that a claim is false or acting with “reckless disregard” as to whether a claim is false. States have implemented similar laws designed to prevent fraud, kickbacks, and conspiracy.
Federal Government agencies, including the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General (DHHS OIG), and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), enforce 13 USC 3729 FCA laws. The Department of Justice aggressively pursues criminal and civil litigation against federal government contractors for false claims against the United States. The FCA sets out liability for treble damages and also provides penalties for each false claim submitted to the government by contractors. The purpose of the law is to hold unscrupulous individuals accountable and discourage fraudulent activity by providing strong financial incentives to informers and tougher punishments for contractors. See information about False Claims Act and Subcontractor Liability
The False Claims Act is a federal law that also allows the government to pursue individuals and companies who have presented false or fraudulent claims for payment to a federal agency. It also provides incentives to whistleblowers and private citizens (relators) who report violations of the False Claims Act.
What is the Civil False Claims Act?
Under the civil False Claims Act, “knowingly” or intent to defraud is needed. This is why government law enforcement prefers to invoke liability in addition to criminal allegations. Agencies can initiate federal investigations for both the civil and criminal FCA. When assessing the “knowing” aspect of the Civil False Claims Ac, it includes not only actual knowledge of the false claims but also situations where government contractors and or CEOs and employees acted in deliberate ignorance or reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the submitted information. Get information about the FCA elements and defenses.
What is the Criminal False Claims Act
There also is a criminal FCA (18 USC 287) which states “ Whoever makes or presents to any person or officer in the civil, military, or naval service of the United States, or to any department or agency thereof, any claim upon or against the United States, or any department or agency thereof, knowing such claim to be false, fictitious, or fraudulent, shall be imprisoned not more than five years and shall be subject to a fine in the amount provided in this title. Criminal penalties for submitting false claims include imprisonment and criminal fines.
Need Help Defending an FCA Case?
If you are a federal government contractor or employee needing immediate help defending a False Claims Act case, please call Theodore Watson, founder of Watson & Associates, LLC law firm. We have more than three decades of combined experience in federal government contracting. Our defense attorneys can help. Call Toll-Free at 1.866.601.5518.