The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) posted another strong year for civil False Claims Act (“FCA”) recoveries in Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2015, securing just under $3.6 billion dollars through settlements and judgments.  The $3.6 billion haul is the lowest since 2011 and is a significant drop from the record recovery of nearly $5.8 billion in FY 2014.  One factor contributing to the lower financial recovery this past year is the reduced number of qui tam actions filed in FY 2015, which fell from 754 in 2013 and 714 in 2014 to 632 in 2015.

Although fewer qui tam actions were filed, qui tam actions remained the bread and butter for DOJ fraud enforcement in FY 2015.  DOJ recovered approximately $670 million dollars in non-qui tam actions, compared to the approximately $2.9 billion obtained through qui tam actions.  Notably, DOJ secured a record $1.15 billion dollars in FCA actions where DOJ declined intervention, a significant uptick from previous years, which never exceeded $175 million.  This, in turn, allowed for a record year for relator recoveries, which amounted to nearly $600 million in FY 2015.

Healthcare fraud remained a focal point for DOJ fraud enforcement, with DOJ obtaining just under $2 billion through settlements and judgments involving the Department of Health and Human Services.  DOJ also continued to hone in on procurement fraud, recovering a total of $1.1 billion in FY 2015, including nearly $259 million in settlements and judgements involving the Department of Defense, a steep increase from the approximately $69 million recovered in 2014.

Despite the decline in overall FCA recovery and the number of qui tam actions filed in FY 2015, it is unlikely that that DOJ and relators are letting up on FCA enforcement.  This past fiscal year’s $3.6 billion recovery marked the sixth straight year in which DOJ recovered more than $3 billion through FCA enforcement.  In each of those years, the total number of non-qui tam and qui tam actions exceeded 700.