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During the nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 15th, then United States Attorney General nominee William Barr backpedaled on earlier statements he had made about the False Claims Act being “an abomination.” Instead he testified that, with Barr at its helm, the Department of Justice would continue to vigorously enforce the statute. But recent actions by the DOJ suggest that although the DOJ may continue to prosecute certain relators’ FCA cases, other relators may find themselves on the other side of a government motion to dismiss. For corporations facing not only treble damages but millions of dollars in attorneys’ fees spent on defending against FCA cases, this may be viewed as welcome relief. In FY 2018 alone the DOJ collected over $2 billion from qui tams. Indeed, many companies find themselves embroiled in multiple FCA cases at a time. Most of the qui tams over the last few years have been in the healthcare industry. Now that military spending is ramping up, the expectation is qui tams in the defense industry will also increase.
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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.