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Maryland Considers Changes to False Claims Act

The Maryland State Legislature is currently considering a bill that would significantly broaden the state’s limited False Claims Act to allow prosecution of cases of non-medical fraud. The bill, if passed, would provide an important and necessary tool to curb fraud committed by private contractors and others who try to cheat the government no matter the type of contract defrauded, according to a leading practitioner representing whistleblowers under the federal False Claims Act.

“There is no reasonable justification for not expanding this law to cover all types of fraud in the state,” said Brian J. Markovitz who will testify on the matter before the state’s House and Senate Judiciary Committees on Feb. 25. “In particular, the new law would allow the government to recover money from non-medical contractors who wrongly bill the government for work that was not performed or was obtained through fraudulent means.”

The state’s current False Claims Act includes only Medicaid and other healthcare related claims. The proposed Maryland False Claims Act (Senate Bill 374) would bring the law in Maryland in line with 20 other states that have similar False Claims laws with the larger scope. The bill also is Attorney General Brian E. Frosh’s top priority for the 2015 legislative session.

The new law would allow anyone with knowledge of fraudulent billing submissions to file lawsuits on behalf of the state. If the case is successful, whistleblowers would receive a portion of funds recovered through the litigation they initiate.  

“This new law could help recoup millions of dollars for the state each year,” Markovitz added. “But, more importantly, it helps bring justice to an often-abused state contracts system and rewards individuals for having the courage to call out the cheaters.”

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