Justice Department Recovers $1.3B in Contracting Fraud
The Justice Department recovered $1.34 billion in contracting fraud cases in fiscal 2008.
That brings to $21 billion the amount of money the government has collected through civil fraud suits since the federal False Claims Act was strengthened in 1986, according to a DOJ statement.
"'Now, more than ever, it is crucial that taxpayer dollars aren't lost to fraud,' Gregory G. Katsas, Assistant Attorney General for the Department's Civil Division, said in the statement. "The billion dollars collected this year is only part of the story. By rooting out fraud and vigorously pursuing it, the Department, with the help of concerned citizens who report fraud in hotline calls and in qui tam complaints, undoubtedly saves the country many times that amount in aborted schemes and misconduct.'"
The False Claims Act is an interesting creature. It enables whistleblowers -- known in the vernacular as relators -- to get a piece of any cash recovered by the government as a result of their fraud allegations. Last year, the so-called relators scored about $198 million.
A big and growing source of fraud? Healthcare. More from the statement:
"As in the last several years, health care accounted for the lion's share of fraud settlements and judgments-$1.12 billion. This number includes both qui tam claims and those initiated by the United States. The Department of Health and Human Services reaped the biggest recoveries, largely attributable to its Medicare program and the federal/state Medicaid program which funds health care for the needy. Recoveries were also made by the Office of Personnel Management which administers the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the Department of Defense for its TRICARE insurance program, the Department of Veterans Affairs and others.
"The largest health care recoveries came from pharmaceutical companies and related entities."
There are some big numbers cited here. And yet. Is this just the tip of the iceberg? Government Inc. thinks alas it may be.
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