What Is The Criminal False Claims Act?
The Criminal False Claims Act forbids people from knowingly submitting a false claim in order to get a payment. If you submit a false claim, then the penalty is a maximum of five years in prison. You may also be charged a criminal fine for each claim that you submit.
Submitting a false claim can be a criminal or civil act. If federal law enforcement is involved, then it may be considered a criminal act. However, there are several factors that will determine whether submitting a false claim will be classified as a criminal or civil act, including the following.
You will need to hire an attorney if you are facing an investigation. Your attorney will help level the playing field. They can come with defenses that can help mitigate the consequences or get your charges dropped.
The Federal Sentencing Guidelines
There are several factors that will affect the sentencing guidelines. The net loss and intended loss will have to be calculated. This means that you could be charged with a crime even if you did not gain anything from submitting the false claim. It is important to note that you cannot receive a sentence that is longer than five years.
Furthermore, prison time and fines are not the only punishments for false claims. You could also lose your professional license.
Defenses That Can Be Used
No Intent to Defraud
Even if you did commit fraud, intent is something that has to be proven. You may be able to get your charges dropped if you can prove that you were entitled to the payment. The prosecutor has to be able to prove that you intentionally tried to defraud someone in order to get the payment.
Mistake of Fact
You can argue that you made a mistake. You can say that you misunderstood the terms of the contract. You can also say that you accidentally submitted a claim for more than what you were owed. This is another way that you can argue that you did not intend to submit a fraudulent claim.
Government misconduct and entrapment are some of the other defenses that can be used. Your attorney will determine the best defenses that can be used.
How to Avoid Criminal Charges
You will need to consult with an attorney as soon as you find out that you are facing charges. This is one of the best things that you can do in order to prevent a civil matter from turning into a criminal one. If a false claims case is not handled correctly, then it will turn into a criminal one.
Burden of proof is still placed on the prosecutor even if the case is prosecuted criminally. If you accidentally submit a fraudulent claim because there are errors on your application, then you may not be charged with fraud. In many cases, whether someone is found guilty of a crime will depend on whether the prosecutor believes that they made a mistake or intentionally submitted a false claim.
Your lawyers have a proven track record of success and have handled many cases like yours. They understand that mistakes can often occur. They believe that mistakes should not justify criminal charges. Unqualified staff, lack of supervision, overwhelmed billing personnel and delegation are some of the things that can cause inaccurate claims to be submitted.
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