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House Passes Amendments to the False Claims Act

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Last week, the House passed S.386 (“Fraud Enforcement Recovery Act”) to curb fraud in the financial services industry and to protect taxpayers’ dollars.  While the bill focuses primarily on potential fraud and misuse of economic stimulus funds, it also includes significant changes to the provisions of the federal False Claims Act (“FCA”).  In particular, the bill amends the FCA to restore legislative provisions and address recent court decisions narrowing its reach.  Examples include: 

  • Eliminating the requirement that false claims be presented to the government;
  • Expanding FCA liability to include any false claim for government money or property regardless of whether the claim was submitted directly to a government official or employee;
  • Expanding the types of conduct that can trigger FCA liability;
  • Extending liability to any person who knowingly conceals, avoids or decreases an obligation to pay money to the government; and
  • Expanding the definition of “claim” to include any request or demand for money or property whether or not the U.S. government has title to the money or property.

The House also included an amendment to the retaliation provision of the FCA, which would expand the prohibition against retaliation to contractors and agents.  For information about The Employment Law Group® law firm’s Whistleblower Practice under the False Claims Act, click here.

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