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Government fraud-linked legislation has serious staying power

Many happy returns.

Kudos to the federal False Claims Act, which just celebrated its 156th birthday. The FCA was enacted as law during the Civil War in 1863 to address fraud committed by military contractors and other parties doing business with the federal government.

It has obviously endured, with proven effectiveness that has progressively increased over the years. Fraud recoveries procured through FCA actions reportedly totaled nearly $3 billion last year.

That certainly pleases taxpayers, but not everyone else. A recent media overview of the FCA’s long history and proven record in spotlighting and prosecuting government fraud duly notes that. It stresses that health care actors “have always hated False Claims Act whistleblower lawsuits.”

Their animosity is well-founded. Individuals suing on behalf of the federal government have been especially effective for their key role in identifying wrongdoing and helping government officials claw back third parties’ ill-gotten gains.

They have understandably been compensated for their help. An estimated $300 million-plus was distributed to whistleblowers in successful FCA cases last year. Almost all that money linked to health care fraud matters.

We know at the national law firm of Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shaw how much courage and perseverance is displayed by individuals willing to come forward with information concerning government fraud. Whistleblowers are often retaliated against at work. The risks they encounter span career derailment and other downsides. The above-cited article underscores that many of them “pay a steep price for coming forward.”

They should certainly be respected and duly rewarded for the sacrifices they make. Questions concerning government fraud and the FCA can be directed to a legal team with a demonstrated record of advocacy helping whistleblowers expose fraud and illegal activities.

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