The Department of Justice (DOJ) maintains statistics on False Claims Act (FCA) filings going back to 1987. The statistics go back to 1987 for the simple reason that the False Claims Act, largely as we know it, is the product of amendments to the Act over a quarter century ago, in 1986. The numbers from the DOJ are astounding:
- In 1987, only 30 FCA actions were filed by relators. Last year, in 2012, 647 FCA actions were filed by relators. The last three years have seen the highest number of relator actions filed each year with 638 and 575 also in 2011 and 2010.
- Since 1987, the government has recovered over $24 billion as a result of FCA filings. In that same time frame, relators have received over $3.8 billion in awards.
- Despite the government only intervening in 20% to 25% of cases, the amounts recovered when the government did intervene accounted for nearly 97% of the total money recovered over the last four years. This statistic is a little jarring at first glance, but may be skewed slightly. For example, the statistic does not take into account when the government intervened. In some cases, the government will not intervene until later in the suit, after the relator has substantially litigated the action. However, in any event, the statistic clearly stands for the proposition that those actions in which the government does choose to intervene have a vastly disproportionate chance of success.
- Over half of the FCA cases brought since 1987 have been related to health care. Of the $24 billion recovered by the government, $18 billion has been in those cases regarding health care. The next biggest area for these cases was with regard to defense spending, accounting for about 16% of the cases filed and just over $2.3 billion recovered since 1987. Interestingly, in the early years of the 1986 amendments (1987-1995) a much higher percentage of the FCA cases filed were related to defense spending (over 42%). Perhaps that initial surge in defense spending-related filings was due to the notoriety of defense contractors in the late 1970s and 1980s for perpetrating fraud.
Clearly, the amendments to the FCA in 1986 have achieved their purpose. More and more FCA actions are filed each year, and the government continues to recover huge sums of wrongly obtained funds from fraudsters. The amounts of money recovered under the Act reaffirm that the FCA is the single most important and effective tool in combating continued (and from the statistics, apparently unrelenting) fraud perpetrated against the government. The full statistics can be found here.
If you believe that you have a False Claims Act case, please contact the Rabon Law Firm.