When is a Claim False?[index]
A person makes a false claim if he/she:
(1) knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, to an officer or employee
of the United States Government or a member of the Armed Forces of the United
States a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval;
(2) knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement to get a false or fraudulent claim paid or approved by the Government;
(3) conspires to defraud the Government by getting a false or fraudulent claim allowed or paid;
(4) has possession, custody, or control of property or money used, or to be used, by the Government and, intending to defraud the Government or willfully to conceal the property, delivers, or causes to be delivered, less property than the amount for which the person receives a certificate or receipt;
(5) authorized to make or deliver a document certifying receipt of property used, or to be used, by the Government and, intending to defraud the Government, makes or delivers the receipt without completely knowing that the information on the receipt is true;
(6) knowingly buys, or receives as a pledge of an obligation or debt, public property from an officer or employee of the Government, or a member of the Armed Forces, who lawfully may not sell or pledge the property; or
(7) knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement to conceal, avoid, or decrease an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the Government..."
This refers to any information that is involved with the claim. There is no materiality test - the claim is false if the entire claim is a lie, or if one minor supporting document is false. This is not unreasonable when claims are simple, but becomes nightmarish when the claim is a multi-million dollar grant application involving several institutions and dozens of investigators. As section 2 says, knowingly making a false statement makes the claim false. While the principal investigator cannot know that every part of such a grant is true, he or she must represent to the government that it is true. Irrespective of the truth of the component parts of the grant, the claim may be false because of the impossibility of the representations. Once one accepts the onus of assuring the information is true, it is hard to raise the "No one could have known" defense.
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