During a speech at the annual Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund conference this week, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell announced that the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Criminal Division “recently implemented a procedure so that all new qui tam complaints are shared by the Civil Division with the Criminal Division as soon as the cases are filed” to determine whether to open a parallel criminal investigation. This allows the prosecutors to coordinate early with the DOJ Civil Division and U.S. Attorney’s Offices regarding parallel investigations.
The DOJ further explained in a press release on the same day that department policy requires the Civil Division to oversee all FCA cases with damages exceeding $1 million and to refer qui tam cases to the Criminal Division for potential prosecution. According to the press release, while the Civil Division’s leadership role will not change, the process for assessing cases for potential criminal charges will speed up and be streamlined.
Ms. Caldwell encouraged whistleblowers filing FCA qui tam actions that involve potentially criminal conduct to “consider reaching out to criminal authorities, just as you now do with our civil counterparts in the department and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices.” She further stated that the Criminal Division “will redouble our efforts to work alongside you. Qui tam cases are a vital part of the Criminal Division’s future efforts.”