The False Claims Act provides for the award of treble damages and penalties against companies or individuals who knowingly present false statements or claims for payment to the United States government. The basic elements of liability and damages under the Act are explained briefly below.
The Act requires proof that a false statement or claim was submitted, directly or indirectly, to the government. Examples of false statements include false representations regarding goods or services allegedly provided, false certifications regarding performance on a contract, or false progress reports. False claims are simply the actual claims for payment submitted to the government, such as invoices, progress payment requests, or other bills requesting payment. False statements can be found in any communications with the government that ultimately provide a basis for a claim to be paid or approved.
All types of false claims are covered by the Act. It is generally not significant whether a false claim is submitted to the U.S. government itself or through a third party. So long as the claim is ultimately presented to and paid by the United States, it should be covered. Indeed, even representations that are designed to reduce an obligation to pay the government (with the exception of tax obligations) are covered by the Act.
The Act requires proof that the false statement or claim have been made “knowingly.” The term “knowingly” is defined in the Act to include “actual knowledge,” “reckless disregard” or “deliberate ignorance” of the truth. No proof of specific intent is required.
The Act provides for the award of treble damages plus penalties for each violation of the Act. For violations committed before September 29, 1999, penalties range from $5,000 to $10,000. False claims submitted after that date are subject to penalties between $5,500 to $11,000 per occurrence.
Please be advised that this website is an information resource and is not intended to provide legal advice in your particular case. We would be pleased to conduct a confidential review of your potential claim, but by doing so we are not agreeing to act as your counsel. A written agreement between you and the Law Offices of Paul D. Scott is prerequisite to representation. Past successes by the firm do not guarantee future results.
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