The Department of Justice issued a press release this week announcing that it had recovered $3 billion in civil settlements and judgments in cases involving fraud against the Government during fiscal year ended September 20, 2010. Of the $3 billion in recoveries, $2.5 billion related to health care fraud claims. Also, of the $3 billion recovered, $2.3 billion came from lawsuits filed by whistleblowers - typically employees who didn't like what they were seeing from their employers.
Health care fraud is the new recovery bonanza for the Justice Department. They recently created the "HEAT" team (Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team) to increase coordination and optimize criminal and civil enforcement. Besides health care fraud, the recoveries included wartime and other government procurement contracts, grants for small business, federally insured mortgages, mineral leases and other federal programs. Recoveries on cases related to Iraq and Afghanistan totaled $10.6 million, a surprisingly paltry amount given all the hearings and publicity surrounding wartime contracting deficiencies.
Government contractors are reminded of their contractual requirements to maintain effective ethics programs to prevent and detect fraudulent activity. We have written extensively on this blog about those requirements and obligations that vary depending upon the amount of contracting. At a minimum, all contractors must display an agency Hotline poster.
To read the entire press release from the Department of Justice, click here.