WASHINGTON, D.C. (12/4/12) – The Justice Department secured $4.9 billion in settlements and judgments in civil cases involving fraud against the government in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2012, Tony West, Acting Associate Attorney General, and Stuart F. Delery, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, announced today. This figure constitutes a record recovery for a single year, eclipsing the previous record by more than $1.7 billion, and brings total recoveries under the False Claims Act since January 2009 to $13.3 billion – which is the largest four-year total in the Justice Department’s history and more than a third of total recoveries since the act was amended 26 years ago in 1986.
The False Claims Act is the government’s primary civil remedy to redress false claims for federal money or property, such as Medicare benefits, federal subsidies and loans and payments under contracts for goods and services, including military contracts. The 1986 amendments strengthened the act and increased incentives for whistleblowers to file lawsuits on behalf of the government, leading to more investigations and greater recoveries.
Most false claims actions are filed under the act’s whistleblower, or qui tam, provisions, which allow private citizens to file suits alleging false claims on behalf of the government. If the United States prevails in the action, the whistleblower, known as a realtor, receives up to 30 percent of the recovery. The department saw a record 647 qui tam suits filed last fiscal year and recovered a record $3.3 billion in suits filed by whistleblowers during the same period.
The Justice Department’s 2012 efforts also included record recoveries for health care fraud, where recoveries topped $3 billion for the first time in a single fiscal year, thereby besting the previous record which had been set in fiscal year 2011. Housing and mortgage fraud accounted for an unprecedented $1.4 billion.
“Today’s announcement underscores the Obama Administration’s ongoing commitment to recover losses, to prevent fraud, to bring abuses to light, and to hold accountable those who violate the law and exploit some of the government’s most critical programs,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Thanks to the dedicated work of attorneys, investigators, analysts, and support staff at every level of the Justice Department – along with our state and local partners across the country – we have secured the largest annual recovery in the Department's history. By aggressively investigating allegations of waste and pursuing those who would take advantage of the most vulnerable members of society, I'm confident that we will continue to build on this historic progress in the months and years ahead.”
“The Justice Department, using the False Claims Act, recovered nearly $5 billion in taxpayer for false claims on the treasury, by far a record for any one year,” said Acting Associate Attorney General West. “This Administration’s commitment to fighting fraud in its many forms has led to the most successful four-year period in the department’s history. Vigorous enforcement of the False Claims Act not only protects taxpayer dollars; it also protects the integrity of important government programs on which so many of us rely.”
“Redressing fraud and abuse in government programs has been a top priority of the Department of Justice,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Delery said. “This success is also largely attributable to the brave individuals who initiate many of the investigations through whistleblower suits and to the Obama Administration’s efforts to coordinate enforcement efforts across government. While today we focus on federal recoveries, the cases successfully pursued by the Civil Division and the United States Attorneys throughout the country also returned billions of dollars to state Medicaid funds and homeowners threatened with foreclosure. In some cases, the individuals and corporations involved were also subject to criminal sanctions and were required to enter into corporate integrity agreements to prevent future misconduct.”
Information provided by the United States Department of Justice
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