Will Wall Street Bailout Produce the Next Round of Whistleblowers Reporting Fraud?
The U.S. Department of Justice this week announced its FY 2008 recoveries in fraud and False Claims Act cases, with more than $1 billion in health care fraud recoveries alone, and a total of more than $1.3 billion. (As explained below, we believe the $1.3 billion figure is low and understates the actual fraud recoveries this year.)
Cases brought by “relators” or whistleblowers under the nation’s primary whistleblower statute, the False Claims Act, accounted for 78% of the money recovered. Since the False Claims Act took its current form in 1986, this law has recovered more than $21 billion of taxpayer funds from those who defraud the government.
As health care costs have grown as a percentage of the federal budget, so have recoveries for health care fraud. Recoveries of federal dollars were made because of fraud not only in Medicare and Medicaid, but also other federal programs such as Tricare and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
The largest recoveries were from pharmaceutical companies–Cephalon Inc., Merck & Co. and CVS Caremark Corp. paid more than $640 million. Pharmaceutical fraud cases also repaid $430 million to state Medicaid programs.
DOJ also cited recoveries in cases of fraud affecting defense procurement contracts, disaster assistance loans and agricultural subsidies.
The actual recoveries were greater if you compare DOJ’s announcements of its settlements, as well as include dollars recovered under the various State False Claims Acts. (We have written extensively about why states are enacting their own State False Claims Acts to mirror the federal False Claims Act, given the federal law’s successes.)
With whistleblowers reporting fraud infecting in the Wall Street bailout funds (because no federal program is immune), it will be interesting to see how these billions of federal dollars show up in future statistics of fraud recoveries.
We have reprinted below DOJ’s “fact sheet” about its FY 2008 significant recoveries. We congratulate Justice on another very successful year in fighting fraud and false claims.
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