The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced that it recovered over $2.2 billion from False Claims Act cases in 2020. According to the DOJ, $1.6 billion of the $2.2 billion in settlements and judgments in fiscal year 2020 arose from lawsuits filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.
The Qui Tam section of the federal False Claims Act allows individuals with evidence of fraud being committed against the government to file a lawsuit on behalf of the United States government. As a reward for coming forward and reporting the fraud, whistleblowers can receive up to 30% of the total money recovered.
The government paid out $309 million to whistleblowers who exposed fraud against the federal government as the number of lawsuits brought forth by whistleblowers continues to grow with 672 qui tam suits filed in 2020.
The majority of the cases in 2020, $1.8 billion in recoveries, were related to fraud involving the healthcare industry, including drug manufacturers, hospitals, pharmacies, and doctors. Numerous healthcare fraud schemes exist, such as fraudulent patient assistance programs, hospice fraud to COVID-19 related fraud.
In one of the largest opioid-related recoveries, Practice Fusion, Inc., an electronic health record (EHR) developer, admitted that it solicited and accepted kickbacks from the opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma in exchange for utilizing its EHR software to influence physicians to prescribe opioid pain medication.
Bid Rigging and Price Fixing
Bid rigging occurs when competitors collude with each other to determine who will be the “winner” and submit a low bid that is more expensive than the bid would have been in an open and competitive bidding process. Last year, Hybrid Tech Holdings LLC, Hybrid Technology LLC, and Ace Strength International LTD, agreed to pay $29 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by rigging the bidding process of an auction to purchase a non-performing loan from the U.S. Department of Energy.
There are many types of customs fraud committed against the government. Foreign products entering the United States are often subject to import duties and tariffs. Customs fraud occurs when companies create schemes to avoid paying the proper duties or tariffs. According to the DOJ, Linde GmbH, a multinational corporation that imports materials into the United States to build natural gas and chemical manufacturing plants, and its U.S. subsidiary, the importer of record, agreed to pay more than $22 million to resolve allegations that they knowingly made false statements on customs declarations to avoid paying duties owed on imports by allegedly misrepresenting the nature, classification, and valuation of imported merchandise.
Whistleblower are essential in the investigation and prosecution of fraud. If you have information about any type of fraud being committed against the federal government, you should seek the guidance of a whistleblower attorney.
With more than 30 years of experience, the attorneys on Baron & Budd’s whistleblower representation team have represented dozens of clients in government fraud cases returning over $5.4 billion to federal and state agencies, with whistleblower recovery shares as high as 49%. They are ready to help if you feel you have the evidence needed to file a whistleblower complaint.
Please call (866) 401-5971 or complete our contact form if you would like more information. For more information, see What You Need to Know About Becoming a Whistleblower. Please understand that contacting us does not mean that you have established an attorney-client relationship with Baron & Budd, P.C.