False Claims Act

The 1986 Amendments to the Federal False Claims Act

Congress enacted the False Claims Act in 1863 to combat war profiteering and through successive amendments has enhanced the law to widen its scope and effectiveness. In addition to broadening the class of qui tam relators (whistleblowers), the 1986 amendments increased damages to triple the amount which the government sustained. Statutory penalties now stand at from $5,500 to $11,000 for each false claim submitted.

Additional Amendments to the Act

Amendments were made to the False Claims Act with the passage of the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 (FERA). These amendments expanded the definition of what constitutes a "claim" under the False Claims Act and eliminated the requirements of direct presentment (a false claim no longer needs to be presented directly to an officer or employee of the government).

In 2010 with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, amendments were made that rendered a violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute a per se false claim for the purposes of the False Claims Act. Additionally, the so called "public disclosure bar" to relator recovery was weakened. The government may now oppose dismissal of an action on public disclosure grounds.

State False Claims Acts

Many states have enacted their own versions of the federal False Claims Act. Uniquely, the New York State False Claims Act allows claims based upon tax fraud committed against the state. While whistleblower allegations regarding federal tax fraud are filed with the IRS Whistleblower Office, tax fraud claims against NY State are treated as FCA allegations and as such, are investigated and prosecuted by the New York State Attorney General.

If you have in-depth knowledge and the ability to document false claims, please contact James T. Ratner or call (845) 383-1728 today to discuss your case with an experienced False Claims Act lawyer. Mr. Ratner represents clients from New York and nationwide.

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