The Federal False Claims Act (FCA) was enacted in 1863 with the purpose of combating fraud occurring against the federal government. The FCA made it unlawful for any person to knowingly submit false claims to the government and any person of made such a claim would be liable for double the government damages plus a penalty of $2,000 per claim. Since the enactment of the FCA there have been several amendments made.
The current False Claims Act, as amended, makes it unlawful for any person to knowingly submit a false claim to the government or to cause another to submit a false claim to the government or to knowingly make a false record or statement to get a false claim paid by the government. The penalty for such conduct requires the individual to pay a civil penalty of between $5,000 and $10,000 for each false claim and treble the amount of the government damages.
The FCA allows a private person, known as a whistleblower or relator, to file suit on behalf of the government for any violations of the Act that they are aware of. A lawsuit filed on behalf of the government by an individual is known as a “qui tam” action.
Many states have enacted their own False Claims Acts that mirror or closely track the language provided in the False Claims Act.
To read more about the Federal False Claims Act and to read the statutory language of the act, click here. Justice.gov provides the attached False Claims Act: Primer which gives a comprehensive look at the Act.