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Information on False Claims Act Litigation

GAO-06-320R Published: Jan 31, 2006. Publicly Released: Mar 02, 2006.
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The False Claims Act (FCA) is one of the government's primary weapons to fight fraud against the government. The Act, as amended in 1986, provides for penalties and triple damages for anyone who knowingly submits or causes the submission of false or fraudulent claims to the United States for government funds or property. Under the FCA's qui tam provisions, a person with evidence of fraud, also known as a whistle blower or relator, is authorized to file a case in federal court and sue, on behalf of the government, persons engaged in the fraud and to share in any money the government may recover. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has the responsibility to decide on behalf of the government whether to join the whistle blower in prosecuting these cases. From fiscal years 1987 through 2005, settlements and judgments for the federal government in FCA cases have exceeded $15 billion, of which $9.6 billion, or 64 percent, was for cases filed by whistle blowers under FCA's qui tam provisions. The whistle blowers share of the qui tam settlements and judgments was over $1.6 billion during this period. With regard to a Congressional request to provide information on FCA litigation, this report addresses the following questions: (1) What statutory guidance and DOJ policies exist regarding the relationship between the government and relators in prosecuting qui tam cases? and (2) What is known about DOJ's qui tam caseload based on the data it collects?

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FraudInvestigations by federal agenciesProgram abusesStatutory lawTrialsWhistleblowersHealth care fraudFraud, Waste and AbuseProcurementBribery