The False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. §§ 3729–3733, also called the "Lincoln Law") is an American federal law that imposes liability on persons and companies (typically federal contractors) who defraud governmental programs. It is the federal Government’s primary litigation tool in combating fraud against the Government.[1] The law includes a qui tam provision that allows people who are not affiliated with the government, called "relators" under the law, to file actions on behalf of the government (informally called "whistleblowing" especially when the relator is employed by the organization accused in the suit). Persons filing under the Act stand to receive a portion (usually about 15–25 percent) of any recovered damages. As of 2012, over 70 percent of all federal Government FCA actions were initiated by whistle blowers. Claims under the law have typically involved health care, military, or other government spending programs, and dominate the list of largest pharmaceutical settlements. The government recovered $38.9 billion under the False Claims Act between 1987 and 2013 and of this amount, $27.2 billion or 70% was from qui tam cases brought by relators. Provisions [edit]​


The Act establishes liability when any person or entity improperly receives from or avoids payment to the Federal government (tax fraud is excepted). The Act prohibits:

  • Knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented a false claim for payment or approval;

  • Knowingly making, using, or causing to be made or used, a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim;

  • Conspiring to commit any violation of the False Claims Act;

  • Falsely certifying the type or amount of property to be used by the Government;

  • Certifying receipt of property on a document without completely knowing that the information is true;

  • Knowingly buying Government property from an unauthorized officer of the Government, and;

  • Knowingly making, using, or causing to be made or used a false record to avoid, or decrease an obligation to pay or transmit property to the Government

The majority of these suits involve:

  • Medicare and Medicaid fraud

  • Off-label promotion: Prescribing pharmaceuticals for an unapproved indication, age group, dose, or form of administration

  • Inadequate manufacturing practices

  • Product failure

  • Long-term side effects of prescription drugs