DOJ Official Highlights $17 Billion in False Claims Act Settlements since 2009 By Tod Aronovitz | 06/23/14 | 0 Comment

Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery recently spoke at the American Bar Association’s 10th National Institute on the Civil False Claims Act and Qui Tam Enforcement in Washington, D.C., on June 5. His speech highlighted a remarkable five-year period in which the Department of Justice, through its enforcement of the False Claims Act, was able to help the federal government recover over $17 billion in settlements and judgments in civil cases.

During that time, Delery said, the largest annual recovery ever, almost $5 billion, was recorded in 2012 and then was followed by the second-largest annual recovery, $3.8 billion last year. In 2012, the government set a record for the most single-year recoveries in False Claims Act cases involving health care fraud, and a similar record was set in 2013 for cases involving procurement fraud.

He explained that the Justice Department would not have been able to attain its success without the 1986 amendments to the False Claims Act which, “played a critical role in transforming the FCA into what it is today—the most powerful tool the American people have to protect the government from fraud.”

“Each of the past five years has seen a new record for the number of whistleblower complaints filed, and of course the commitment advocacy of relators has been central to our record-setting recoveries,” he said.

In addition to the restoration of the qui tam provision and the establishment of trebled damages in 1986, Delery also attributed the enactment of important new legislation as continuing revitalization efforts and strengthening the False Claims Act.

One was the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009, which clarified the extent to which the False Claims Act reaches fraud by those who do not deal directly with the federal government, and imparted that businesses cannot knowingly keep government money that they never should have received. The other was part of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, which bolstered available solutions when medical providers pay illegal kickbacks in connection with services billed to federal health care programs, he said.

Delery also highlighted a variety of high-profile False Claims Act cases, not just because of the money that was recovered but also because of the people they protected and because of measures that have been put in place to help prevent misconduct from happening again:

  • Groundbreaking resolution with Johnson & Johnson for a total of $2.2 billion in 2013
  • Resolution with GlaxoSmithKline for a record $3 billion in 2012
  • $41 million settlement with Kings Daughter Medical Center in Kentucky to resolve allegations that its surgeons implanted cardiac stents in Medicare and Medicaid patients who did not need them, and then falsified the records in an attempt to justify the procedures
  • Protecting active duty military service members: misconduct at issue in these cases include overcharging for transporting military containers in Iraq and Afghanistan to selling dangerous and defective illumination for the Army and Air Force to use in nighttime combat, covert operations, and search and rescue missions.
  • $614 million settlement with JPMorgan Chase earlier this year over the approval of thousands of federally insured loans that did not meet underwriting requirements, and as a result, many loans failed.
  • Helping prevent future misconduct—as in the $1.5 billion criminal and civil resolution in 2012 with Abbott Laboratories for conduct relating to its epilepsy drug Depakote and the establishment of rigorous terms in the drug maker’s 5-year probation period.

Delery believes the False Claims Act works as an effective tool to fight fraud for four main reasons:

  1. It crosses a full spectrum of federal programs and initiatives
  2. It provides powerful incentives for companies to do business the right way
  3. It safeguards billions of dollars of taxpayer money, protecting health and safety, improving public confidence in government, and allowing key programs to function better
  4. It also acts to prevent fraud from happening in the first place

For a complete transcript of Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery’s speech, please click here.

How to Report Miami Medicare Fraud

Healthcare professionals or medical billing employees who have knowledge of questionable Medicare billing practices can file a confidential legal claim under the False Claims Act. By acting as a “whistleblower” in what is known as a “qui tam” lawsuit, a private party may collect between 10 to 30 percent of the amount recovered, depending on how the case is prosecuted.

ARONOVITZ LAW: Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam Law Firm

The Miami Qui Tam law firm of ARONOVITZ LAW routinely works with whistleblowers to document Medicare fraud and other forms of fraud against the government. Contact Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam lawyer Tod Aronovitz to discuss your case.