Underpayments

In addition to imposing liability for false claims made to the government for payment, liability under the False Claims Act also contemplates false claims made to avoid or reduce an obligation to pay the government.

Recent amendments to the False Claims Act have expanded liability for underpayments, otherwise known as “reverse false claims,” to include improperly avoiding or decreasing an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the Government.  Thus, an individual may face liability under the False Claims Act for “knowing and improper conduct” absent a direct presentment or submission of a false claim.

For example, companies that fail to turn over unclaimed property (escheat) may violate the FCA.  So too may companies that fail to pay royalties for extracting natural resources from federal or state owned lands.  Additionally, health care providers, device manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies must now report any identified overpayment made for reimbursement under a federal health program within 60 days.