The Government Revamps Its Weapon Against False Claims: The New Amendments to the False Claims Act

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Federal government funding now comes with increased potential liability and treble damages exposure for a broader scope of entities as a result of new amendments to the federal False Claims Act (“FCA”),[1]signed into law last week by President Obama. All government contractors and subcontractors, healthcare providers, public and private grantees and sub-grantees, and other entities doing business with the federal Government or with an entity that receives federal funds, should be mindful of these changes. The Government has recovered more than $21 billion from FCA actions since the last substantial amendments to the FCA in 1986, and over two-thirds of those recoveries were from the healthcare industry alone. These new amendments expand the scope of parties potentially liable for treble damages, narrow available defenses, and otherwise strengthen one of the Government’s most successful civil weapons in its fight against suspected fraud on the United States.

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