February 13, 2024

Comparisons with Other Anti-Fraud Laws

The False Claims Act (FCA) serves as an important tool to address the potential for criminal activity in both individuals and businesses. Central to this Act is the qui tam provision, which allows private citizens to file lawsuits on behalf of the government against entities committing fraud, effectively involving the public in the fight against deceit. By introducing this legislation into our government, we aim to combat fraudulent actions and hold those responsible accountable for their wrongdoing. Within this category of rightful and just legislation, the False Claims Act represents only one of the numerous anti-fraud laws in the United States.

The Anti-Kickback Statute

While the False Claims Act works to prevent fraud within the realm of the government, the Anti-Kickback Statute deters inappropriate and fraudulent action in health care. Patients depend on doctors and nurses for honest and appropriate care, but unfortunately, there is a potential for dishonest practices. When a healthcare provider prescribes medication or refers a patient to a service in exchange for money or rewards, it compromises genuine care. The Anti-Kickback Statute is designed to prevent such unethical behavior. Even though it serves as a deterrent and keeps health care providers on the straight line, the Anti-Kickback Statute can often lead to a False Claims Act case. Both laws complement each other.

The Dodd-Frank Act

The Dodd-Frank Act, particularly its whistleblower provisions, shares a common goal with the False Claims Act: encouraging individuals to report misconduct. However, Dodd-Frank focuses more broadly on financial crimes and securities fraud, offering protections and incentives to those who report a violation(s) to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Corporate Fraud 

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act is a rule specific to the United States. It combats corporate fraud by requiring businesses to transparently report their financial activities, including their spending, total funds, and any financial challenges they face. This rule was implemented following major scandals where large companies were dishonest about their finances. Now, businesses must thoroughly verify and clearly disclose their financial activities to prevent deceit. While filing a False Claims Act case primarily targets a false claim for government funds, both this and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are essential in safeguarding financial integrity. For example, a False Claims Act case might involve a healthcare provider billing Medicaid for services not rendered, whereas Sarbanes-Oxley addresses corporate financial dishonesty.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prohibits U.S. companies and individuals from bribing foreign government officials to gain a business advantage.  Typically, a violation of the FCPA does not directly lead to a False Claims Act case, as they address different types of misconduct. However, there can be situations where conduct violating the FCPA also gives rise to FCA liabilities under certain circumstances. This can happen if the misconduct related to the FCPA violation also involves defrauding the U.S. government. The fraudulent claim against the government is what triggers the FCA, not the act of bribery itself. So, while a FCPA and FCA violation can often occur in different contexts, there can be overlaps, particularly in scenarios involving multinational corporations engaged in both foreign operations and U.S. government contracts.

Securities Exchange Act of 1934

This act regulates the secondary trading of securities (stocks, bonds, and debentures) in the United States. It addresses securities fraud, including insider trading and market manipulation, and is enforced by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Comparatively, the FCA is enforced by whistleblowers through qui tam actions and the government may choose to intervene.

Bank Secrecy Act

Also known as the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, the BSA requires financial institutions in the U.S. to assist U.S. government agencies in detecting and preventing money laundering. It includes various record-keeping and reporting requirements for banks and other financial institutions. The BSA aims to prevent and detect money laundering and other financial crimes by requiring financial institutions to maintain specific records. It’s a primary tool used by the U.S. government to combat financial illegal activities, including the financing of terrorism. Filing a false claim under the FCA indicates that a fraudulent act has been perpetrated against the government, making them different.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

This act provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information in the U.S. While it is primarily known for its privacy rules related to healthcare information, it also includes provisions aimed at combating healthcare fraud. By emphasizing electronic billing, HIPAA complements the FCA in preventing false claims in health care, ensuring that billing practices are transparent and accurate.