On May 19, 2015, Vermont’s governor signed into law a state false claims act that largely mirrors the federal False Claims Act, including the ability of a qui tam relator to bring an action on behalf of the state. Vermont joins the 33 states and the District of Columbia that have enacted false claims acts to date. Additionally, on May 12, 2015, Maryland’s governor approved a bill that expanded the state’s false claims act, which was enacted in 2010 to combat health care fraud.
This trend is being driven, in part, by the significant recoveries that the federal government is obtaining in fraud cases related to the health care industry and other sectors. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), it recovered nearly $6 billion in civil false claims cases in FY2014, nearly half of which was a result of whistleblower suits. A state false claims act is critical for the state to maximize its recoveries in these fraud cases. This is because a state with a false claims act that meets the requirements of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, as determined by the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG), receives a 10% increase in its share of any amounts recovered under these laws.