March 03, 2014 Articles

The False Claims Act: Protecting Your Client When Amending a Sealed Complaint

The Civil War-era law is our primary tool in prosecuting government fraud.

By Erin Campbell, Jonathan Kroner, Jennifer McIntosh, and Shankar Ramamurthy

During the Civil War, unscrupulous contractors supplied the Union Army with empty boxes filled with sawdust instead of muskets, uniforms that disintegrated in the first heavy rain, and blind and diseased mules.  The massive scope of this fraud moved Congress to pass and President Abraham Lincoln to sign what is now the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729–3733 (FCA).  The FCA has become the United States’ primary tool for prosecuting fraud in every part of the government, from Medicare and other federal healthcare programs, to defense contracting, procurement, and grant funding.

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