DOJ Recovers $3.8B from False Claims Act Cases

, The Litigation Daily

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It was another banner year for False Claims Act settlements, according to statistics revealed by the U.S. Department of Justice on Friday.

In a press release, the Justice Department announced that it secured $3.8 billion in settlements and judgments from False Claims Act cases during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. That's a decrease from last fiscal year's record-setting haul of $4.9 billion, but it's still the second largest annual amount. 

According to the DOJ, 86 percent of that $3.8 billion came from cases brought under the FCA's qui tam provisions, which allow whistleblowers to receive up to 30 percent of a recovery. The agency didn't reveal how much it paid to whistleblowers.

A few high-profile health care fraud cases account for much of the $3.8 billion. In the largest settlement of the fiscal year, Amgen Inc.  agreed in December 2012 to pay $612 million to settle ten whistleblower suits alleging drug misbranding. In May generic drug company Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. paid $350 million to resolve a FCA case alleging it gave false data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Whistleblower Dinesh Thakur and his lawyers got $48 million in that settlement, as Fortune reported.

(Note: Brian Elmer of Crowell & Moring has compiled a list of every FCA settlement from 2000 through August 2013.)

The Justice Department's former chief operating officer, David Ogden, has questioned the effectiveness of the agency's anti-fraud enforcement efforts. "If your goal is lots of recoveries, and as part of that, lots of bounties and lots of attorneys fees, it's working great. What's not working out…is preventing fraud in the first place," said Ogden, now of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, at a December 6 panel discussion hosted by George Mason University School of Law, according to our affiliate Corporate Counsel

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