The False Claims Act (FCA), also known as the Lincoln Law, is a federal statute that makes it illegal for any person or entity to knowingly submit false or fraudulent claims to the government for payment. It is commonly used in healthcare, where it imposes penalties on anyone who knowingly presents false or fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid or receives kickbacks.
So, what is the penalty for violating the False Claims Act? The penalties for violating the False Claims Act are severe and can include hefty civil penalties of between $5,000 to $10,000 per violation. You may also face prison time of up to 5 years.
In this article, the skilled healthcare fraud attorneys in Dallas/Fort Worth from Westfall Sellers will discuss the specifics of false claim act penalties for those in healthcare.
What is the False Claims Act in healthcare?
The False Claims Act (FCA) is a federal law that prohibits individuals or companies from submitting false or fraudulent claims for payment to the government. It applies to any type of claim, but is mostly invoked in the healthcare sector. Violations under the False Claims Act do not require intent to defraud. This means that even if a false claim was submitted unintentionally, it can still be subject to penalties.
The FCA also includes other laws such as anti-kickback statute and Stark laws which prohibit certain kickbacks for referrals or services. Violations of the False Claims Acts can fall into one of two categories: civil or criminal.
These violations are typically handled by the Department of Justice and involve a lawsuit against the person or company who submitted false claims. Civil False Claims Acts can result in penalties of up to three times the amount of damages caused by the false claims, plus additional fines.
Criminal FCA violations are typically handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and can result in up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000 per violation.
False Claims Act violation examples
False Claims Act healthcare violations include:
- Knowingly billing for services not rendered
- Upcoding services
- Double billing
- Falsifying documents
- Offering kickbacks for referrals
- Creating false diagnoses
- Misrepresenting services as medically necessary
Other False Claims Act violation examples may include submitting claims for services that are not medically necessary, billing for more expensive services than those actually provided, and misappropriating Medicare or Medicaid funds.
What is the punishment for violating the False Claims Act?
Those found guilty of violating the False Claims Act may face severe punishments and civil penalties. False Claims Act healthcare penalties are calculated according to several factors, such as how much money was obtained through fraudulently billing the government, how long the fraud went on for, and whether it was a first-time offense or not.
Penalties can range from $5,000 to $10,000 per violation, and the violator may also face criminal charges with fines of up to $25,000 and imprisonment for up to five years. In addition, those found guilty of False Claims Act healthcare violations are liable for treble damages — meaning they must reimburse the government three times the amount of money they fraudulently obtained.
If you have been accused of violating the False Claims Act, it is important to seek legal counsel from the top white collar crime lawyers at Westfall Sellers as soon as possible. They can help you understand your rights and navigate the complex legal process involved in white collar cases. With their help, you may be able to reduce or avoid the severe penalties associated with False Claims Act violations.
Suspected of False Claims Act violations? Don’t wait to call Westfall Sellers.
So, what is the penalty for violating the False Claims Act? Penalties for False Claims Act violations depend on a variety of factors, but can include hefty civil penalties and possible criminal charges. If you have been accused of violating the False Claims Act, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
At Westfall Sellers, our team of federal fraud defense lawyers understand the seriousness of False Claims Act violations and can provide you with experienced legal counsel and impeccable representation in court. We understand the complexities of False Claims Act violations, and we are here to help.
Call Westfall Sellers at (817) 928-4222 or contact us online for a free consultation today.
More Helpful Articles by Westfall Sellers: