Vermont Governor Signs State False Claims Act into Law
On May 19, 2015, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin 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. Whistleblowers will be enticed to report fraud in companies doing work for state and local governments through the new Vermont False Claims Act, rewarding them with a portion of the reclaimed funds as reward for their honesty, while also providing protection from on-the-job retaliation.
Vermont joins 33 states and the District of Columbia that have enacted False Claims Acts to date. This trend is partially driven 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. 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.
The Vermont False Claims Act can be found here.