Under the False Claims Act (FCA), the government and private parties alike have an opportunity to sue anyone who fraudulently has made a claim for government-regulated funds.
Some examples of violations of the FCA include a company or individual filing a Medicare claim for services not rendered or a defense contractor requesting paynment for wages for hours that employees have not worked. In each of these cases, if it can be proven that the offender willfully filed a fraudulent claim for government payment, then the offender can be penalized severely for doing so.
Besides having to return the fraudulently received monies, offenders may also be held responsible for a monetary penalty for each fraudulent claim submitted.
Among the civil penalties that either an individual or entity may be assessed, each claim may carry as much as a $10,000 fine. With inflation, though, this number could reach over $20,000. In addition, the government may also seek to recover what's referred to as treble, or triple, damages. This means that you could be required to pay back as much as three times the amount you are alleged to have filed a wrongful claim for.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be held criminally liable for violations of the FCA as well. Some of the more common federal offenses that defendants in these types of cases are charged with include identity theft, insurance fraud, forgery, theft, bribery or money laundering.
Harsh penalties are assessed to cases involving violations of the FCA in an effort to ensure that the funds will be allocated to those who need them most. If you have been accused of having violated the FCA or you are considering reporting your employer for having done so, then you may benefit from discussing your legal matter with a New York City commercial litigation attorney.
Source: FindLaw, "False Claims Act penalties," accessed June 23, 2017