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False Claims Act FAQs

Please note, the FAQs on this site apply to the Federal False Claims Act.

Individual state laws can and frequently do differ from the federal law, with respect to some of the conduct which can create liability in some state FCA versus federal FCA laws. Other areas where state and federal rules may differ include the percentage of an  award amounts, that a whistleblower may receive should their claim prove successful. In the meantime, please refer to the following page for a general overview of frequently asked questions regarding federal FCA rules, definitions, and guidelines.

Individual state laws can and frequently do differ from the federal law, especially with respect to the conduct covered in state FCA versus federal FCA laws.

To completely understand how jurisdictional rules regarding False Claims Act cases may apply to your situation, contact an attorney well-qualified in FCA matters and of course review any law applying to a case on an individual basis. In the meantime, please refer to the following page for a general overview of frequently asked questions regarding federal FCA rules, definitions, and guidelines.

Who can be Sued Under the False Claims Act?

Virtually anyone can be a defendant in a False Claims Act case. Defendants are typically government contractors or the recipients of government grants or reimbursements (such as health care providers who receive Medicare/Medicaid payments).

The Statute expressly exampts from suit  Members of Congress, federal judges, and senior government officials.  There have been court cases finding State’s to be immune from suit  under the federal law especially when the government does not pursue the claim on sovereign immunity grounds. There have been some collections against State Agencies as a result of Federal Government action however. Generally suing a government or government official is not the purpose of the False Claims Act. Private actors who defraud the government are the appropriate defendants to pursue.

What Types of Conduct are Covered by the False Claims Act?

The False Claims Act is designed to cover virtually any type of misrepresentation  that causes, or could cause, the wrongful payment of federal money. Most types cases  involve a company or individual presenting invoices or other requests for payment that are false. The Act also covers conduct that causes others to present a false claim to the government, making false statements material to a false claim, conspiring to get the government to pay a false claim, making false statements to avoid paying money owed to the government.

In short, the False Claims Act encompasses almost any situation where an individual uses fraud to obtain government funds or avoid paying the government money that is owed.

Does the False Claims Act Cover Securities Fraud?

Generally not for the Federal law. However, when a State a government pension plan or other plan involving government money that has been invested, any fraud related to those investments could be the basis for a suit.  States invest in securities through pension plans and many States have their own False Claims Acts modeled on the federal law, which would allow for a suit when that State has been damaged by securities fraud

More commonly securities fraud is now the subject of filings with the SEC whistleblower program.

When a securities violation does not involve government money, a person still file a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under its ..

Does the False Claims Act Cover Tax Fraud?

No. The Federal False Claims Act specifically exempts tax fraud. If you have evidence of tax fraud, you should instead file a report with the IRS Whistleblower Program.

What Kind of Damages are Available Under the False Claims Act?

An individual or company that violates the False Claims Act is liable for three times the amount of money fraudulently obtained from the government, plus a civil penalty, which has been increased to account for inflation and now can exceed $20,000 for each violation (usually each false claim presented). In the case of a successful qui tam suit, the defendant may also be liable for statutory attorneys fees.

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