Cheat the US govt and pay double the penalities

Health care providers, drug and medical-device manufacturers and others doing business with the federal government face a doubling of penalties on Aug. 1 if they violate the False Claims Act—the government’s chief and most lucrative fraud-fighting tool.

The U.S. Department of Justice, in a July 1 interim final rule, increased the law’s minimum penalty from $5,500 to $10,781 per claim, and the maximum from $11,000 to $21,563 per claim, plus the act’s trebling of actual damages.

“These types of penalties easily can add up, particularly in the health care context where you may have lots of claims but the actual damages may be small,” said Matthew Turetzky of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton. Turetzky predicted “plenty of cases where you will see substantial penalties.”

Turetzky, who practices government contracts, investigations and international trade, gave as an example a hospital that falsely certifies that it is giving the best…

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