WASHINGTON, DC – Phillips & Cohen partner Colette G. Matzzie was the featured guest today on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” to discuss the 150th anniversary of the False Claims Act and the impact the whistleblower law has had.
Matzzie noted that whistleblower cases brought using the 1986 amended False Claims Act have returned more than $40 billion to the US Treasury. The two largest recoveries under the False Claims Act were largely due to “qui tam” (whistleblower) cases Phillips & Cohen brought: GlaxoSmithKline paid $3 billion to the government in 2012 and Pfizer Inc. paid $2.3 billion in 2009 to settle civil charges and a criminal fine.
Congress enacted the False Claims Act in 1863 to create incentives for private citizens to help the government stop fraud against the Union Army. Matzzie pointed out that whistleblowers continue to use the law to help stop fraud that affects US troops, such as Phillips & Cohen’s qui tam case against ATK Launch Systems Inc., that required the company to retrofit 76,000 defective military flares that put military personnel at serious risk of death or injury. ATK also paid $37 million to settle the case.