US DOJ Collects Record Amounts Under False Claims Act In 2021
In its last fiscal (FY) year, which ended in September 2021, the US Department of Justice (US DOJ) collected more than $5.6 billion under the False Claims Act (FCA). This recovery, achieved through settlements and legal judgments, is the highest since 2014. According to the DOJ, it is also the second-largest annual total in the history of the False Claims Act.
In cases brought by whistleblowers, the DOJ collected more than 1.5 billion in the fiscal year 2021.
What Is The False Claims Act?
The False Claims Act is a federal statute that allows the US DOJ to pursue claims against people and businesses that commit fraud against the government. Anyone who knowingly submits a false claim to the government is liable for significant damages and penalties.
The origin of the False Claims Act dates back to 1863 when it was enacted in response to fraud by defense contractors during the Civil War.
The FCA also allows private citizens to bring claims on behalf of the government in what are called “qui tam” claims. If the government is successful in these cases, the private citizen or “whistleblower” who initiated the claim shares in the recovery. The whistleblower can often receive 25-30% of the government’s recovery.
What Were The Big Cases In 2021?
In 2021, most (nearly 5 billion) of the DOJ’s billions in recovery came from healthcare-related fraud. Many claims under the FCA involved medical device manufacturers, medical labs, doctors, hospice organizations, pharmacies, and hospitals.
The largest portion of the billions recovered in 2021 resulted from settlements with the manufacturers of opioids. Indivior and Purdue Pharma agreed to huge payouts related to their drugs, Suboxone and OxyContin, respectively. Purdue alone made a 2.8 billion dollar payment.
Some of the larger false claim settlements involved issues such as:
- Unnecessary medical services ordered with no regard for actual patient needs
- Unlawful kickbacks to doctors and pharmacies
- Unlawful promotion of unsafe drugs
- False and misleading claims about medication
- Unnecessary prescriptions of opioids and other drugs
- Unsupported diagnostic codes- (specifically related to Medicare Advantage fraud)
The remaining False Claims Act recoveries during 2021 came from various industries. These included fraud by defense contractors, clothing companies, and state government agencies.
Call Alonso Krangle, LLP
It is unlawful to submit false claims to the government knowingly. If you are aware of fraud against the government, you might be entitled to initiate a qui tam (“whistleblower”) claim.
Call Alonso Krangle, LLP, at 800-403-6191 today to determine if you are eligible to initiate a case under the False Claims Act.