Connecticut False Claims Act
The Connecticut legislature passed the Connecticut False Claims Act (“CFCA”) in 2009. See Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53a-290 to 296. Much like the federal FCA, the Connecticut law holds persons or companies liable that make or cause to be made false or fraudulent claims, records, or statements which lead to illegitimate payments made by the state government. Unlike the federal False Claims Act, however, Connecticut’s FCA only applies to fraudulent payments or claims under medical assistance programs administered by Connecticut’s Department of Social Services, including Medicaid, Charter Oak, Husky A, Husky B, CONNPACE, State Administered General Assistance (“SAGA”), and Connecticut AIDS Drug Assistance Program (“CADAP”). In addition, whereas the federal FCA exempts tax claims, Connecticut’s False Claims Act does not. Violations can lead to treble damages paid to the state, and $5,500 to $11,000 penalties for each individual false claim that violates the state FCA.
The CFCA rewards self-policing, self-reporting, and cooperating with state investigators by reducing treble damages to double damages if certain conditions are met. For example, fraudsters must provide the state with all information relating to the fraud within 30 days after the violation became known. Additionally, the person or entity must fully cooperate with the state investigation. Finally, if a civil, criminal, or administrative action related to the fraud had already begun when the person or entity disclosed the information to the state, treble damages will be imposed.
Aside from the scope of the law, most of the state FCA provisions are generally identical to the federal FCA. The state must prove all the elements of the cause of action, including damages, by a preponderance of the evidence. Claims can only be brought within six years of the alleged violation of the statute and cases may not be brought more than three years from the date when the state knew or reasonably should have known of material facts related to the alleged violation. Connecticut’s FCA includes anti-retaliation measures comparable to the federal FCA, and it allows relators to recover from 15-25% if the state intervenes, and from 25-30% if the state does not intervene.
A disclosure made by a relator to the Connecticut state government as authorized under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17b-301i(b) and (c) can preserve a person’s rights as an original source of information relating to the fraud.
In June 2013, a Connecticut-based dentist and six of his consulting and management companies agreed to pay $9.9 million to settle claims in violation of the Connecticut False Claims Act and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. The case was investigated by the Connecticut Department of Social Services and Attorney General George Jepsen. According to the Complaint, the dentist had been permanently banned from participating in Medicare and state healthcare programs yet continued to manage a number of dental practices around the state. Furthermore, the dentist allegedly double-billed for certain dental services or collected payment for services not rendered.