Whistleblower Rewards are High
Whistleblowers helped the Justice Department recover $2.8 billion in fiscal year 2015. For their assistance, they received nearly $600 million in rewards, which I believe is a record.
The largest area of recoveries was in the health care industry. Total payments in cases to the federal government for health care fraud reached $1.9 billion.
The second largest area of fraud was in payments under government contracts. The DOJ achieved settlements and judgments in cases totaling $1.1 billion during the fiscal year.
Relators, as whistleblowers are known under the False Claims Act, filed 638 qui tam lawsuits over the past year, which was a slight decrease over previous years. For each of the past two years, there have been more than 700 lawsuits filed.
Last year, the DOJ recovered more than $5 million through the False Claims Act and paid out roughly $435 million to whistleblowers for their assistance in recovering funds paid out due to fraud. It was the first year that recoveries for housing and mortgage fraud outpaced health care fraud in the FCA.
Overall, DOJ Collects $23 Billion From Cases in FY 2015
The Justice Department issued a separate press release announcing that it collected $23.1 billion in fiscal year 2015 through civil and criminal cases. These enforcement actions resulted in $16.2 billion to the Justice Department and nearly $7 billion in payments to other federal agencies, states and other recipients.
The amount includes some penalties that were resolved in previous years but actually paid in this fiscal year. For example, $8.2 billion from the August 2014 settlement with Bank of America for mortgage fraud prior to and during the housing market initiated financial crisis is included.
The overall announcement included a specific mention of DaVita Healthcare Partners, which paid $807 million to settle cases of kickbacks and fraudulent billing through the False Claims Act.
The impressive amount from the DOJ complements the large recoveries from the SEC and CFTC. The CFTC achieved civil monetary penalties of $3.144 billion and the SEC received awards of disgorgement and penalties of $4.19 billion.
For additional information about reporting fraud and whistleblower rewards, contact one of our False Claims Act attorneys.