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"LincolnI have been blogging about the endless array of ways that people have devised
to cheat the Government. I am already on my third post on this subject,
and I am only using the examples provided at one session of a CLE conference
that I recently attended. I am a member of
Taxpayers Against Fraud (TAF), which sponsored the conference for lawyers who represent relators
(known in the vernacular as whistleblowers) or the Government in False
Claims Act or qui tam lawsuits.

I represent relators who blow the whistle on fraud against the government,
and I joined some 300 other lawyers from all over the country at the conference,
which was held in Washington, D.C.

I have been compiling a list of some of the different types of fraud that
we discussed in one of the sessions, and providing some examples of the
types of False Claims Act (FCA) cases that have been brought under that
category. So, here are yet more examples of ways people cheat the Government:

* Falsely certifying that a company has complied with a law, contract term
or regulation. For example, recently the federal government has begun
to pursue cases against for-profit educational colleges for falsely certifying
that their students are eligible for student loans. Colleges in the field
of for-profit education are required to report the percentage of their
students who are graduating and getting jobs in the fields for which they
have trained. The Government is trying to avoid making loans to students
who attend colleges that are not graduating a reasonable percentage of
students who are actually getting work in their fields. The requirement
is aimed at slowing the increasing default rate on Government-guaranteed
student loans, and also at preventing heartache for students who take
out huge student loans for which they are personally responsible, and
then study industriously, sometimes for years, only to graduate and discover
that there are no jobs in the field for which they are newly-educated.

* Claims for payment by someone who is violating the conditions of participation
or payment. For example, a military contractor may have agreed to track
the hours that its employees work on a cost plus contract with the Government,
but it may not really be bothering to track the hours. A facility that
is supposed to help developmentally disabled adults may be paid to provide
speech therapy to one of its clients, but it may try to save money by
having an untrained staff member provide the “therapy” instead.

* Submitting a claim for payment for an opinion that the person knows is
false. There have been several truly appalling examples of doctors diagnosing
patients as needing surgery and implanted medical devices, when the person
never needed the surgery or the device. The doctor may have actually seen
the patient in his office, but he submitted a false diagnosis in order
to be able to perform a lucrative surgery later on. For example, the Justice
Department has been investigating incidents where doctors may have been
falsely diagnosing patients as needed implantable cardioverter defibrillators
(ICD’s). The ICD’s give mild shocks to the heart if the heartbeat
slows more than it should and provide shocks to the ventricles in the
case of a serious heart arrhythmia.