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The Federal False Claims Act And How It Applies To Construction Contractors

Monday, June 04, 2007 12:21 pm

The Federal False Claims Act And How It Applies To Construction Contractors

In responses to a recent subscriber survey, several of you asked for an article on false claims. The following is a brief overview of the federal False Claims Act (FCA) (31 U.S.C. 3729). Most notably, unlike common law fraud, the government does not need to prove that it incurred damages. In fact, the statute applies even where the government is not actually deceived by the false claim. It is enough that the claimant tried to deceive.

The FCA's purpose is to protect the government against fraud and fraudulent claims for government revenue. Among other things, the statute makes it illegal to: (1) knowingly submit a false or fraudulent claim for payment to the federal government; (2) make a false statement in order to have a claim paid; (3) conspire to defraud the government in order to have a claim paid; and (4) make a false record or statement to conceal an obligation to pay money to the federal government.

The first part of the equation is the claim itself. A "claim" is "any request or demand, whether under a contract or otherwise, for money or property w [...]

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