Written by Tara Swenson
In a briefing earlier this week, Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West proudly reported that in FY 2012 the Department of Justice (DOJ) set a new single year record of nearly $5 billion in settlements and judgments under the False Claims Act (the “FCA”). This enormous sum exceeded FY 2011 FCA recoveries by about $1.7 billion. The health care and mortgage industries were the two largest contributors to the recovery pool, with health care companies paying more than $3 billion.
Mr. West cited three activities that have enabled the DOJ to collect such large recoveries under the FCA: “aggressive use of a power statutory tool; creating strong partnerships; and supporting the civil frauds work of committed, hard-working attorneys and staff.”
Mr. West also thanked a number of individuals for helping to shape and strength the FCA and specifically recognized that such results would not be possible without the Health Care Fraud and Enforcement Action Team (also known as “HEAT”).
Not surprisingly, the new single year record for FCA recoveries was coupled with a new record for qui tam cases. The DOJ reported that nearly 650 whistleblower actions were brought last year which resulted in $3.3 billion of the $5 billion recovered.