The False Claims Act Allows Citizens to Collect Money While Protecting the Government Against Fraud

By Fredrick P. Niemann, a NJ Fraud Attorney

Defrauding Federal Government programs is one of the biggest crimes in our entire country since the government is such a large entity with numerous programs such as healthcare, military operations, and others. These programs involve significant amounts of money and it often becomes hard to track our tax dollars as they are distributed. This allows criminals to defraud the government for millions of dollars each year. Now, the government has implemented protections against these fraudulent practices.

One of the most unique protections the American Government has in place today is a law called the False Claims Act. This Federal Law protects against fraud of government programs throughout the country based on a unique method of reporting. Using what is referred to as a “qui tam” provision, the law calls for normal citizens to file lawsuits on behalf of the government against individuals committed fraud. If the defendant is found guilty of defrauding the United States, the government will give the person filing the claim a portion of any money damages the government recovers. This is often referred to “whistleblowing”, and while it sometimes draws a negative connation amongst big businesses, the law protects our hard-earned tax dollars from criminal activity.

The False Claims Act criminalizes all activity associated with fraudulent practices against the government, including those that commit the fraud themselves, conspired to commit fraud, and even those that knew of the fraud but didn’t actually commit the acts themselves. The fraudulent practices may stem anywhere from filing a false claim to creating a false record that is presented to the government. The inclusion of all those that know of fraudulent activity, even if they aren’t the ones committing it themselves, has broadened the liability to include many people who otherwise may not be implicated since they are not directly involved in the fraud.

One key part of proving knowledge of fraud under the False Claims Act is the showing of specific conduct that proves the defendant knew of the fraudulent activities. A Federal Appeals Court recently upheld the dismissal of a case in which the plaintiff alleged that the Chubb Institute submitted fraudulent applications for student aid to the government. The Federal Appeals Court noted that the plaintiff put forth only vague allegations, which were insufficient to move forward with the trial against the defendant.

The False Claims Act gives citizens the opportunity to make money while helping the government crack down on criminals and fraudulent activity. This unique law is key to protecting our Federal Government and tax dollars. If you have any questions regarding fraud or the False Claims Act, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, a New Jersey Fraud Attorney, today. He can be reached toll-free at 888-800-7442 or emailed at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com/. He welcomes you to his office to discuss these matters with you.

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