The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recovered more than $2.2 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases under the False Claims Act (FCA) in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020. This is a drop of more than 25% from fiscal year 2019, when DOJ recovered more than $3 billion.
According to DOJ’s statistics released on January 14, 2021, of the total recoveries, more than $1.8 billion related to matters involving healthcare. Lawsuits filed by qui tam whistleblowers continue to generate the bulk of DOJ’s recoveries, producing $1.6 billion in recoveries in the last fiscal year. But DOJ initiated a relatively large number of its own cases, too.
DOJ’s total recoveries in FCA settlements and judgments in FY 2020 were lower than in any one year since 2008. The dip is notable but should not be construed as a downward trend by any means. There are reasons to expect that FCA enforcement activity will be robust in the months ahead. Also, the statistics do not include DOJ’s global criminal and civil settlement with Purdue Pharma LP and its owners (the Sackler family). Under that settlement, announced in October 2020, Purdue agreed to pay $2.8 billion and the Sackler family agreed to pay $225 million to resolve alleged civil violations of the FCA related to opioid drug products.
This update provides an overview of DOJ’s statistics and their significance for companies and other stakeholders.
DOJ’s FCA Statistics for FY 2020: Highlights
Each year, DOJ releases aggregate statistics that reflect the total values of civil settlements and judgments obtained by DOJ in the prior fiscal year involving allegations of fraud and false claims against the government. All told, the government has collected more than $64 billion under the FCA since 1986, when Congress amended the FCA in significant respects.
Among the highlights of the newly released statistics:
A few observations can be made based on the statistics: