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The False Claims Act (FCA or Act) can be a real punch in the gut for businesses on the wrong side of an FCA claim. The Act, codified at 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733, is designed to prevent private companies contracting with the government from knowingly submitting false or fraudulent claims for their services. The Act allows actions to be filed against the alleged wrongdoers in federal district court, and provides an incentive for whistleblowers to come forward and make such claims. These qui tam plaintiffs must be the “original source” of the information about the false claims, pursuant to 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4), and are rewarded by receiving a percentage of the ultimate payout, calculated based on whether the federal government decides to intervene in the action, pursuant to § 3130(d).
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By Robert J. Anello and Richard F. Albert
When federal prosecutors focus their attention on high profile misconduct that is not an obvious violation of federal criminal law, they often cannot resist the attractions of broadly worded “catch-all” fraud statutes. From time to time, however, the U.S. Supreme Court has pushed back on efforts to further expand the boundaries of these statutes, leading to reversals of some well-publicized criminal convictions.
By Margaret A. Dale and Mark D. Harris
Given the current turmoil in the markets, an increasing number of plaintiffs are bringing shareholder class action suits, citing corporate statements about COVID-19. As first-quarter earnings season draws to a close, now is a good time to reflect on the shareholder class actions that have been brought to date related to COVID-19, and others potentially yet to come.
By Terence M. Grugan, David L. Axelrod and Emilia McKee Vassallo
For more than 10 years, federal investigators have investigated criminal conduct in connection with the 2008 recession-era TARP program. From those investigations, U.S. Attorneys across the country brought cases and earned convictions for offenses spanning the federal criminal code. We can expect that these same agencies will use the same techniques and strategies to investigate crimes and bring cases involving fraud related to the COVID-19 stimulus packages.
By Russell Koonin and Adam Schwartz
In the midst the current COVID-19 pandemic, the SEC is paying attention. The Division of Enforcement has made clear that it will act, and act quickly, to stop fraudulent conduct that falls under its jurisdiction related to the pandemic.