False Claims Act

Overview
Civil Litigation
White Collar & Investigations

The False Claims Act is the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) weapon of choice in combating fraud against government programs. The stakes for companies or individuals accused of violating the False Claim Act are high, and the consequences can include punitive monetary penalties, exclusion from government programs, and sometimes criminal exposure as well. Zuckerman Spaeder LLP has the experience to help clients navigate the multifaceted issues involved with False Claims Act litigation.

Originally enacted during the Civil War, the False Claims Act languished until 1986, when abuse of government funds became so rampant in the defense industry that Congress dusted it off to prevent companies and individuals that provide goods or services to the military from submitting fraudulent claims. Since then, the law has also been used to prosecute physicians, medical device companies, pharmaceutical companies, and other health care providers that seek reimbursement from the government through Medicare and Medicaid. Zuckerman Spaeder’s False Claims Act Practice draws from the industry expertise of our Health Care and Procurement Fraud Practices to add depth to our defense of government contracting and health care clients in False Claims Act cases.

Zuckerman Spaeder also has particular experience defending clients in matters relating to the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act, which entices whistleblowers to file suit on behalf of the government in exchange for significant monetary rewards—up to 30 percent of the recovered funds. A qui tam claim can trigger civil or criminal litigation, and often parallel investigations. When a qui tam suit is first filed, it is kept under seal while government attorneys investigate the allegations underlying the claim.

Zuckerman Spaeder attorneys often resolve such cases before trial, but if litigation is unavoidable, our False Claims Act clients benefit from our team of seasoned trial lawyers. We have the experience to defend our clients from allegations of civil, criminal, and administrative actions.

Experience Highlights

Any person or entity receiving or spending federal money can be sued for civil False Claims Act violations. Violations can sometimes be subjective—surgeons or hospitals can be accused of performing unnecessary operations and complex health care laws can leave the door open for misinterpretation. Zuckerman Spaeder has extensive experience helping clients resolve complex commercial litigation, while protecting their core businesses. We have a long and successful history of defending health care providers and others involved in civil False Claims Act suits. Our attorneys understand the intricacies of these issues, and stay abreast of changes in laws and regulations related to government procurement and reimbursement. 

Experience

If a False Claims Act investigation escalates to a criminal indictment, defendants face aggressive prosecution aimed at proving a company or individual knowingly submitted fraudulent claims to the government for payment—oftentimes using evidence gathered through conversations recorded by whistleblowers with a financial stake in the prosecution. With significant financial penalties, exclusion from government programs, and even potential prison time at stake, it is important to have counsel with experience handling complex cases. Zuckerman Spaeder’s team includes experienced litigators and former federal prosecutors who understand how to resolve contentious situations. We are just as conversant in the courtroom, marshaling years of trial and appellate experience. 

Experience

Offices