January 11, 2024

What types of actions are considered violations of the False Claims Act? Navigating the Labyrinth: Understanding Violations of the False Claims Act

The False Claims Act (FCA) plays a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of federal programs and ensuring taxpayer dollars are used responsibly. At Berg & Androphy, we understand that the legal complexities of the FCA can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re dedicated to breaking down these complexities, providing clear and actionable information for both individuals and organizations. In this article, we’ll dive into the different types of actions that can lead to violations of the False Claims Act, helping to shed light on this important area of law.

Understanding the False Claims Act

Enacted during the Civil War era, the False Claims Act (FCA) is a critical federal law that targets fraud against the U.S. Government. This means that if an individual or company tries to trick the government into paying for something it shouldn’t, they can be held responsible under the FCA.

The act covers a wide variety of violations, making its reach extensive and its enforcement a top priority for legal authorities such as the Attorney General and the Department of Justice. They work tirelessly to ensure that anyone violating the FCA is held accountable, safeguarding public funds.

This is especially important in key areas of public spending like healthcare, defense, and social services, where the FCA ensures that the funds meant for these crucial services are used correctly and efficiently. In doing so, the FCA upholds a standard of honesty and integrity in transactions involving government funds, helping to maintain public trust and ensure that taxpayer money is well spent.

Violations Under the False Claims Act

Submission of Fraudulent Claims: This means submitting false requests for payment to the government. Whether, for example, a healthcare provider bills Medicare for services a patient never received, or if a defense contractor charges too much for equipment, these deceptive practices constitute clear violations.

False Statements and Records: The Act also targets false statements and records used to get a false claim paid or approved. This violation occurs when someone lies on paperwork or creates fake documents to get the government to pay a claim. The accuracy and truthfulness of documentation are crucial, and any manipulation or falsification to deceive the federal government is strictly prohibited.

Conspiracy to Violate the FCA: Individuals or entities conspiring to submit false claims, make false statements, or commit FCA violations are equally liable. The FCA fosters an environment of accountability, ensuring that all parties involved in fraudulent activities are held responsible.

Retention of Overpayments: If the government accidentally pays too much money, the person or company that received the extra funds has to report the mistake and return the money quickly.  The FCA mandates the timely reporting and returning of any overpayments received from the federal government. Failure to do so within the stipulated timeframe is considered a violation.

Anti-Kickback and Stark Law Violations: There are specific rules about money in healthcare, like not taking bribes for patient referrals or having improper financial ties between doctors and other healthcare providers Engaging in kickbacks or violating the Stark Law, which prohibits certain financial relationships in healthcare, can also result in FCA liability.

Qui Tam Whistleblower Provisions

Central to the False Claims Act is its Qui Tam provision, allowing private individuals, known as whistleblowers or relators, to file lawsuits on behalf of the United States. These Qui Tam whistleblowers are instrumental in unearthing fraud and are afforded whistleblower protection under the FCA. The act ensures their rights are protected, and they are eligible for a portion of the recovered damages should the case succeed.


Our Approach

In the labyrinth of federal regulations and legal obligations, understanding the intricacies of the False Claims Act is imperative. Violations range from submitting fraudulent claims to making false statements, and the act ensures that those who attempt to defraud the government are held accountable.

Thankfully, we specialize in navigating those complexities. Our seasoned attorneys are well-versed in the nuances of the United States Code, ensuring thorough representation in Qui Tam suits and FCA matters. Our team is committed to upholding justice and ensuring compliance with the False Claims Act.

At Berg & Androphy, our mission is to provide exceptional legal counsel, ensuring our clients are well-informed and protected. Whether you are navigating a Qui Tam action, facing an FCA investigation, or seeking advice on FCA liability, our team stands ready to guide you through every step of the process, ensuring integrity and compliance with the law.