Notwithstanding the unprecedented business disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the immense human and financial toll it has taken, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) continued a sustained program of enforcement of the False Claims Act (FCA) in 2020.
These efforts produced both significant judicial decisions on issues of increasing importance in FCA jurisprudence and the recovery of substantial damages and penalties in settlements under the Act.
In particular, the health care sector continued to see nine-figure FCA settlements stemming from Anti-Kickback Statute violations and billing for medically unnecessary services, but the year also saw substantial FCA settlements as part of the government’s priority in combatting the opioid epidemic. With the DOJ’s recent directive to U.S. Attorneys to prioritize the investigation of coronavirus-related fraud, the unprecedented amount of federal stimulus payments, and the commencement of a new presidential administration, FCA enforcement and compliance issues will continue to be important considerations for businesses in all sectors of the economy. We hope this guide provides a helpful overview of the most significant FCA developments over the last year and a glimpse of potential areas for further development in 2021.