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Press Release

U.S. Attorney Sellinger Speaks at New Jersey State Bar Association’s Annual Meeting and Convention

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger spoke on the False Claims Act Panel at the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Annual Meeting and Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger described the District of New Jersey’s leading role in rooting out fraud, kickbacks, and false claims in health care and other government enforcement across the country. He highlighted his office’s aggressive approach toward these cases and the substantial resources it devotes to them.

“The False Claims Act was originally enacted in 1863 in response to defense contractor fraud during the American Civil War, and it remains the federal government’s primary civil tool to address fraud that impacts federal spending. For example, in 2016, Olympus, a medical device company, entered into $646 million global resolution that included a $310 million False Claims Act settlement to resolve allegations of pervasive and systemic kickbacks related to the sale of their endoscopic devices and other equipment. The matter was initiated based upon a qui tam filed in our district, and the relator received a share of the FCA recovery amounting to more than $50 million.”

U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger

The District of New Jersey employs a unique structure to help it combat healthcare and government fraud. It has two units tasked with enforcement in those areas, and those units have both criminal and civil Assistant U.S. Attorneys and support staff. These units often work in parallel on matters when appropriate, including False Claims Act cases.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger said that the District of New Jersey has increased its prosecutions of fraud matters, particularly in the wake of the government’s COVID relief programs. He noted that the office has created a criminal COVID Fraud Strike Force, which includes three additional Assistant U.S. Attorneys dedicated to COVID fraud enforcement. U.S. Attorney Sellinger said protecting taxpayers and punishing and deterring fraud on the government has been and will remain an important priority for the office.            

The False Claims Act allows private citizens to file suit under seal on behalf of the United States to seek restitution and penalties for fraud involving federal funds. Once such a suit is filed, the government will investigate the claims and pursue a recovery in appropriate instances.

The Act provides that these “whistleblowers,” or relators, as they are called, may receive a share of any recovery up to 30 percent in some cases. Settlements and judgments under the False Claims Act nationwide exceeded $2.68 billion in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2023. Recoveries since 1986, when Congress substantially strengthened the civil False Claims Act, now total more than $75 billion.

In Fiscal Year 2023, the District of New Jersey collected $120.7 million in affirmative civil enforcement actions.

Updated May 16, 2024

False Claims Act
Press Release Number: 24-179