On Thursday, June 5, Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery, head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division, spoke to a conference of qui tam attorneys in Washington, D.C. at the American Bar Association’s 10th National Institute on the Civil False Claims Act and Qui Tam Enforcement. Delery spoke very highly of the False Claims Act, lauding its success in recovering more than $17 billion in the past five years. Delery focused on conveying a simple message: the False Claims Act works.
It works because it is an effective tool to fight fraud across the full spectrum of federal programs and initiatives.
The FCA works because it provides powerful incentives for companies to do business the right way.
And the FCA works because it safeguards billions of dollars of taxpayer money, protecting health and safety, improving public confidence in government, and allowing key programs to function better.
But perhaps the most important reason why the False Claims Act works is that it has accomplished one of the core goals that President Lincoln referenced when it was first adopted: protecting the American people.
That protection comes from the billions of dollars in financial recoveries that the statute has made available, which have saved taxpayers from having to bear in full the costs of fraud. It also comes from restoring our confidence that government programs are functioning to benefit us, not to line the pockets of people who commit fraud.
James Hoyer partner Elaine Stromgren was in attendance for Assistant Attorney General Delery’s speech. Stromgren stated, “I thought it was important that Mr. Delery emphasized the fact that the False Claims Act not only returns money to the taxpayers, but also is an effective tool in protecting the health and safety of the American public. There have been many successful qui tam cases against defendants who have engaged in practices which have resulted in significant harm, in the healthcare arena for example. FCA relators can play an important role in working with the government to help put an end to those dangerous practices.”
It is extremely encouraging to have Assistant Attorney General Delery publicly recognize the value of the False Claims Act. The public-private partnership between whistleblowers and the Department of Justice is paramount to the success of FCA cases, and a continued commitment by the Department of Justice to pursuing fraudsters means there will be a bright future for the False Claims Act.