Thank you Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West for that introduction and for your leadership on these issues, and thanks to all of you for attending.
As you just heard, this was a banner year for False Claims Act recoveries. By focusing on rooting out fraud like never before, this Administration has achieved record returns for the U.S. Treasury and demonstrated the power of the False Claims Act for addressing fraud.
In addition to the record-breaking amounts of money recovered for the taxpayers over the past four years, it is important that we not lose sight of the fact that the individual cases that are rolled up in these numbers have a real effect on individual people.
These cases involve a risk of harm to children and seniors, like in the cases against GlaxoSmithKline and other pharmaceutical companies that marketed their products for uses that were never approved by the FDA, undermining quality care and patient safety.
They involve a risk of harm to our men and women in uniform, like the case against ATK, which sold defective flares to the U.S. Military.
They involve a risk of harm to homeowners, like in the Department’s settlement with the five largest mortgage servicers. By resolving our claims, the Department both collected money owed to the Treasury and also protected homeowners from abusive foreclosure practices.
So as our cases this year show, fraud against the government is not just a problem that affects us as taxpayers. It is a problem that affects us as parents and as patients. It puts service members and law enforcement officers at risk. It is an epidemic that plagues every aspect of our daily lives.
And that’s why the record-breaking figures of the past four years are only part of the story. The Department’s False Claims Act work not only protects the Treasury, but also reflects a deep commitment to protecting the health and safety of all Americans and bringing about meaningful change to eliminate cheating from business practices.
We know that enforcement alone will not get us out of this problem. So our agency partners are working hard to root out fraud before it happens, and they negotiate compliance agreements in connection with their administrative remedies that establish tough structures to help prevent further instances of fraud.
And the Department, in significant resolutions such as this year’s record-breaking settlement with GSK, is pursuing non-monetary remedies and other measures to promote future compliance with the law as a part of our criminal and civil resolutions. These forward-looking provisions reflect our view that preventing fraud from occurring is a far better outcome than attacking fraud after the fact.
And no one understands this better than the courageous citizens who serve as our enforcement partners. Many of these cases would not be possible without the whistleblowers, known as relators, who have come forward to report fraud, often at great personal risk.
We thank them for their service to the country and look forward to continued, productive collaboration in the years ahead.
Finally, I want to echo the Acting Associate Attorney General’s comments about Senators Leahy and Grassley and Congressman Berman, as well as to thank our partners at the offices of Inspector General, the FBI, and many other public servants across the country who contributed to these matters.
In particular, I want to recognize the dedicated attorneys, investigators, auditors, and support staff of the Fraud Section of the Civil Division – here in Washington – and in the U.S. Attorney’s Offices around the country, whose work is reflected in these results. These professionals are public servants in the true sense of the word. The best part of this job is supporting them as they use all the legal tools at their disposal to run down leads, find witnesses, and build compelling cases against those who have defrauded their country. The taxpayers could not have better advocates. So to all of my colleagues, I am proud of the work you do and inspired by your passion.
Thank you very much, and we look forward to your questions.