WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has recovered a record $5 billion in the past year from companies that filed false claims against the government.
Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West said Tuesday that the federal False Claims Act is the most powerful tool in the government's legal arsenal for protecting the integrity of government programs, such as Medicare and defense contracting.
Fraud against the government involves a risk of harm to a wide range of Americans, including homeowners victimized by abusive foreclosure practices, children and seniors taking medication for uses that were marketed by pharmaceutical but not approved by regulators and men and women in the armed forces relying on defective products sold to the military.
It's "an epidemic that really reaches every aspect of our daily lives," said Stuart Delery, principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil division.
Since the beginning of 2009, the department has recovered $13.3 billion in False Claims Act cases, the largest four-year total in the Justice Department's history. In the past year, recoveries were $4.9 billion, up by $1.7 billion from $3.2 billion the previous year — which also was a record.