Saturday, March 5, 2011

More attacks on the False Claims Act

Virginia Qui Tam blog has an excellent post about the ACLU's attack on the seal provisions of the False Claims Act.  

Last month the Whistleblowers Protection Blog did an excellent post following up on the ACLU's attack on the federal False Claims Act.  After the District Court's dismissal of the ACLU's lawsuit, the ACLU appealed the matter to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The matter has been fully briefed, and it was argued on Sept. 20, 2010.  The folks at the National Whistleblower Center have been looking into the roots of the ACLU's interest in qui tam litigation.  The following is a quote from the Jan. 27, 2011 post on WPB:
The lead attorney who authored the principal appellate brief attacking the False Claims Act was Benjamin Sahl, an attorney who now works for Cowan, Liebowitz, and Altman. The Cowan firm represents numerous corporations which oppose the FCA, including pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly, Merck, and SANOFI-Aventis as well as financial groups like Morgan Stanley and Citigroup. These corporate interests certainly feel the dent in their pockets because of the False Claims Act, the safeguard for all whistleblowers.  Corporations would like to see the FCA weakened. 

The purpose of the seal is to allow DoJ to investigate the fraud allegations without tipping off the target.  In almost all of my qui tam cases, as soon as the target gets wind of the case, records disappears, hard drives get wiped, laptops get confiscated, and everyone gets lawyered up.  Crooks commit fraud behind closed doors; and they have become very sophisticated at covering their tracks.  (We're talking billions of dollars.)  The seal provision is designed to circumvent the realities of how fraud is perpetrated and covered up.

The False Claims Act (FCA) is the Government's most powerful weapon to fight fraud.  It's been unsheathed and catching lots of white collar criminals (and white coat criminals for that matter).  Remember, the FCA protects your tax dollars, but also, and more importantly, patients.  With its success, expect to see more and more attacks on the FCA.  

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