In fiscal year 2021, just under 90% of the government’s False Claims Act (FCA) recoveries came from within the healthcare industry. The year prior, that figure was a bit lower, but still over 83%. It is safe to say, then, that the “vast majority” of FCA recoveries are from companies and individuals within the healthcare industry. That being said, it is important to remember that the FCA is not limited to the healthcare industry. In fact, any company or individual submitting claims for payment to the federal government faces the threat of FCA liability if those claims turn out to be “false or fraudulent,” in any way.
That lesson was on display last week when the DOJ announced that Wise Services Inc. – a Dayton Ohio-based general contractor – agreed to pay over $300,000 to resolve an FCA case wherein it was alleged to have submitted “hundreds of invoices charging millions of dollars for [construction] materials that did not exist” in connection with a fuel fabrication facility under construction at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in Aiken, South Carolina.
This matter also serves as a reminder that the false or fraudulent claims for payment do not have to be submitted directly to a government agency in order to be considered a violation of the FCA. This is because the FCA not only prohibits knowingly presenting a false or fraudulent claim to the government, but also causing such a claim to be submitted. Indeed, according to the DOJ’s press release, Wise did not submit any of its invoices directly to the government, but instead submitted them to its prime contractor, which in turn submitted them to the government.
This matter is an important reminder for any company that submits claims (whether directly or indirectly) to the federal government for payment or reimbursement. Any such company should take care prior to submitting any such claim to follow all of the rules and regulations governing the services of items for which it is seeking payment.
The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent companies and individuals of all types and sizes, and across all industries, in connection with False Claims Act investigations and litigation. If you need assistance with such a matter, please feel free to contact us.