Federal and state governments are ready to roll out over one trillion dollars in funding in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As past is often prologue, we expect this new round of massive government spending to someday be subjected to strict government oversight, targeted audits and investigations, and whistleblowers all searching for potential fraud, waste and abuse. Economic downturns and the unfortunate necessity of layoffs may also lead to an increased risk of whistleblower claims by former employees. Flooding the healthcare industry and other negatively impacted industry streams with hundreds of billions in aid will no doubt prove too tempting for the ever-present fraudsters in society who are always looking to take advantage. As we have learned from past crises, however, when government enforcement eventually gets around to casting its False Claims Act (FCA) nets far and wide in search of potential fraud and abuse, many unwary businesses may be ensnared along with the usual fraudsters because of their sloppy or reckless practices. Deficient practices today could trigger an FCA investigation or enforcement action tomorrow along with all of its draconian treble damages and penalties. This article details the risks businesses face under the FCA when responding to COVID-19, and provides guidance on how to guard against them now.
Continue Reading Guard Against False Claims as Massive Government Spending Rolls Out to Combat COVID-19