Behalf of the government

This is due primarily to the fact that Congress chose to extend the FCA’s reach to include deliberate ignorance and reckless disregard, rather than limiting its applicability to situations in which there is evidence of specific intent to defraud (Boese, 2007, p. 1. 3). Thus, as long as an entity submits a claim that is “false,” liability is possible under the FCA. Whether or not the entity intended to submit a false claim is not a driving issue; rather, the fact that a false claim was submitted creates liability.

This is one of the key aspects that has attracted so much outrage from legal scholars and the provider community. One of the most powerful aspects of the FCA is its aforementioned qui tam, or whistleblower, provision. The whistleblower provision allows private citizens, acting on behalf of the government, to file a FCA complaint and share in the recovery. These private citizens are called whistleblowers or relators (Stanton, 2001, pp. 30-31). The qui tam aspect is unique in that it allows a party who has not been directly injured by a defendant’s conduct to file a complaint against them on behalf of the government.

While qui tam statutes had been popular in prior centuries when there were insufficient public police efforts to investigate public wrongs, most qui tam provisions were gradually eliminated as public resources for law enforcement grew. Indeed, “by the twentieth century, the 1863 False Claims Act contained virtually the last remaining qui tam provision of any consequence in federal law” (Boese, 2007, pp. 1. 4; 1. 9 - 10). As previously mentioned, the FCA’s qui tam provision sets the FCA apart from other tools with which the government can combat suspected fraud.

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