Settlements and judgments under the False Claims Act exceeded $2.2 billion in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2022. The Government and whistleblowers were party to 351 settlements and judgments, the second-highest number of settlements and judgments in a single year. Recoveries since 1986, when Congress substantially strengthened the civil False Claims Act, now total more than $72 billion.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Boynton said, “protecting taxpayer dollars by preventing fraud and abuse is a critical priority for the Department of Justice.” He continued by emphasizing that “the large number of settlements and judgments this past year demonstrates that the False Claims Act remains one of the most important tools for ensuring that public funds are spent properly and advance the public interest.”
The False Claims Act imposes damages and penalties on those who knowingly and falsely claim money from the United States or knowingly fail to pay money owed to the United States. The False Claims Act thus serves to safeguard government programs and operations that provide access to medical care, support our military and first responders, protect American businesses and workers, help build and repair infrastructure, offer disaster and other emergency relief, and provide many other critical services and benefits.
Of the more than $2.2 billion in False Claims Act settlements and judgments reported by the Department of Justice this past fiscal year, over $1.7 billion related to matters that involved the health care industry. These settlements have included cases against drug and medical device manufacturers, durable medical equipment, home health and managed care providers, hospitals, pharmacies, hospice organizations, and physicians. The amounts included in the $1.7 billion reflect recoveries arising only from federal losses. The Department and whistleblowers were instrumental in recovering additional amounts for state Medicaid programs. The recoveries in fiscal year 2022 also reflected the department’s focus on new enforcement priorities, including fraud in pandemic relief programs and alleged violations of cybersecurity requirements in government contracts and grants.
In 1986, Congress strengthened the False Claims Act by increasing incentives for whistleblowers to file lawsuits. Qui tam cases may be pursued by the government or the whistleblower, and this past year significant recoveries were obtained by both. When a qui tam action is successful, the whistleblower, also typically receives a portion of the recovery ranging between 15% and 30%. Whistleblowers filed 652 qui tam suits in fiscal year 2022, and this past year the Department reported settlements and judgments exceeding $1.9 billion in these and earlier-filed suits.
Hoyer Law Group is proud to represent and advocate for whistleblowers. Please contact us for a confidential evaluation if you have questions about a potential case.