The Justice Department announced that settlements and judgements in cases involving fraud against the government reached $2.4 billion in fiscal year 2009. Of that amount, nearly $2 billion was attributable to cases brought by whistleblowers under the qui tam provisions of the federal False Claims Act.
The Act was strengthened by amendments made in 1986 that reduced the barriers to citizens suing on behalf of the government and increased the incentives to filing such suits. More recent amendments that were part of the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 have clarified Congressional intent as to when a qui tam suit can be pursued. Assistant Attorney General Tony West noted that several courts had narrowed the scope of the False Claims Act and the amendments corrected that narrowing.
Health care fraud recoveries totaled $1.6 billion, two-thirds of the year’s total. The largest health care recoveries came from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, which accounted for $866.7 million in settlements. In addition to federal recoveries, these pharmaceutical and medical device fraud cases returned $402 million to state Medicaid programs.
In fiscal year 2009, relators were awarded $255 million.