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Whistleblowers Get $435 Million in FCA Awards in 2014 — Taxpayers Get Nearly $6 Billion

The U.S. Department of Justice announced that taxpayers recovered nearly $6 billion from False Claims Act (FCA) cases in fiscal year 2014.

More than half the total came via lawsuits filed by individuals. Under the FCA’s qui tam provision, whistleblowers who uncover fraud may sue on behalf of the government — and get up to 30% of recovered funds as a reward.

In FY 2014, the Government paid out $435 million in such awards. It was the second consecutive year in which more than 700 qui tam suits were filed, and the first time FCA recoveries exceeded $5 billion.

The recoveries reflect the government’s focus on getting large financial institutions to pay a penalty for the fraudulent behavior that led to the 2008-2009 mortgage crisis. Huge settlement payments from Bank of America and other big mortgage players fattened the government’s 2014 haul. The Justice Department expects FCA numbers for fiscal year 2015 to set yet another record, as a six-year filing deadline approaches for FCA claims about the crisis.

The FCA is not new — its first incarnation was signed into law by Abraham Lincoln — but lately it has bloomed into one of the government’s most powerful anti-crime tools. Since 1986, when the law was strengthened, taxpayers have recovered more than $40 billion in fraudulent claims.

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