On the heels of the SEC’s recent report of its whistleblower statistics, the Department of Justice released statistics detailing the staggering False Claims Act recoveries in FY2014. In the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, the United States obtained a record $5.69 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving false or fraudulent claims against the government. This brings the five year total since January 2009 to $22.75 billion – more than half the recoveries since the inception of the modern False Claims Act in 1986.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce Branda – in the role she took over when Stuart Delery became the Acting Associate Attorney General in September 2014 – said, “It has been an extraordinary year for civil fraud recoveries … The False Claims Act was enacted to both protect vital taxpayer dollars and deter those who would misuse public funds. The department will continue to enforce the law aggressively to ensure the integrity of government programs designed to keep us safer, healthier and economically more prosperous.”
The number of False Claims Act qui tam suits initiated by whistleblowers exceeded 700 for the second year in a row. In FY2014, qui tam cases accounted for nearly $3 billion, with whistleblowers receiving $435 million as relator’s share awards.
The Department of Justice’s report details specific recoveries from the housing and mortgage fraud arena, which totaled $3.1 billion from various banks and financial institutions, and from the health care fraud area, which totaled $2.3 billion. Notably, FY2014 was the fifth straight year that the Department of Justice has recovered more than $2 billion from healthcare related cases. The Department of Justice’s report also identifies the $85 million recovery from Halifax Hospital Medical Center, in which James Hoyer acted as local counsel for relator Elin Baklid-Kunz.
Finally, the Department of Justice’s press release specifically recognizes the invaluable efforts of False Claims Act whistleblowers. The report acknowledges that the growing number of qui tam lawsuits has led to increased recoveries. Branda commented, “We acknowledge the men and women who have come forward to blow the whistle on those who would commit fraud on our government programs. In strengthening and protecting the False Claims Act, Congress has given us the law enforcement tools that are so essential to guarding the treasure and deterring others from exploiting and misusing taxpayer dollars. We are grateful for their continued support.”
For the Department of Justice’s full press release, click here.