Billions in False Claims Act Recoveries

Welcome to Fraud By the Numbers! Since the Department of Justice (DOJ) has primary responsibility for enforcing the country’s federal whistleblower law, The False Claims Act, we are going to start by analyzing some key numbers in the DOJ’s annual report.

Each year, the DOJ releases a report detailing how much money they have recovered from False Claims Act cases for the Fiscal Year. From October 1, 1986 (the beginning of FY 1987) to September 30, 2020 (the close of FY 2020), the Department of Justice successfully recovered a total of $64.45 billion from False Claims Act proceedings.

For FY20 alone, the DOJ recovered $2.2 billion taxpayer dollars that had been lost to false and fraudulent claims.

Indeed, year after year, billions of dollars have been recovered. The DOJ has been consistent in recovering between $2 and $6 billion dollars every year for the past decade, with $6.16 billion recovered in FY14 alone – the most ever recovered in a single year.

You could wrap $6.16 billion worth of $20 bills around the circumference of the Earth and still have $100,000 to spare! In this regard, False Claims Act proceedings have proven to be a great success, restoring to federal agencies tax dollars that were fraudulently swindled away.

However, when compared to the amount of money the federal government spends in a given year, annual DOJ recoveries are not keeping up. Tomorrow, we will take a closer look at this, and compare the constant rate of annual DOJ recoveries to the steadily increasing amount of federal budget outlays.