Verdict - Winter 2013 - (Page 14)

feature 10 Things You Shoul Taxpayer Protection I n July of 2012, Georgia taxpayers were given a powerful new tool to hold recipients of state funds accountable: the Georgia Taxpayer Protection False Claims Act (the “GTPFCA” or the “Revised Act”), codified in Chapter 3 of Title 23 and Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Georgia Code. The GTPFCA substantially revised the previously existing State False Medicaid Claims Act, O.C.G.A. § 49-4-168 et seq. (the “Medicaid FCA”), and it created a new statutory scheme covering false or fraudulent claims submitted to non-Medicaid payors, O.C.G.A. § 23-3-120 et seq. (the “Non-Medicaid BY JENN COALSON FCA”). Here are some of the most significant aspects of the GTPFCA that every Georgia lawyer should be aware of. The Act Covers False Claims Submitted to Virtually Any State Payor False claims submitted to the State Medicaid Program have been actionable under the Medicaid FCA since it was enacted in 2007. The GTPFCA, however, vastly expanded false-claims liability to reach non-Medicaid claims. Under the Revised Act, a false or fraudulent claim involving the money or property of virtually any government body (including counties, cities, school boards, political subdivisions, and even MARTA) is now potentially actionable.1 The Revised Act even reaches claims submitted not directly to the government, but to government contractors or grantees if government funds will be used to pay the false claim.2 Thus, a statute that once was largely confined within the healthcare industry is now relevant to all industries and practices. The Act Covers a Broad Range of Conduct The Revised Act applies to the straightforward situation involving a knowing presentation of a false claim for payment, but it also extends liability to a broad range of other conduct, including knowingly making or using a false record material to a false claim, possessing state property or funds and knowingly delivering less than all that property or money, knowingly receiving public property as a pledge of an obligation or debt from 14 Georgia Trial Lawyers Association a government officer or employee who lawfully may not sell or pledge the property, or conspiring to do any of these things. 3 The GTPFCA also reaches “reverse false claims,” which involve knowingly concealing, avoiding, or decreasing an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the state or local government.4 “No proof of specific intent to defraud is required.” 5 Instead, liability under both the Medicaid and Non-Medicaid parts of the GTPFCA attaches for “knowing” violations, which requires only that an individual have actual knowledge of the falsity or act in deliberate ignorance or reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the information.6 Nevertheless, the revised Act’s expanded liability is not unlimited. Among other exclusions, the Act does not apply to “claims, records, or statements made concerning taxes under the revenue laws of this state,”7 nor does it reach payments made by the government to individuals as employment compensation or unrestricted income subsidies.8 Methods of Enforcement The GTPFCA is enforceable through an action by the Attorney General (or a local government designee of the Attorney General),9 but it is also enforceable through a private right of action, subject to several important qualifications and limitations.10

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Verdict - Winter 2013

Book Review: Just Deceits Full of Twists and Turns
10 Mobile Apps for Trial Lawyers
How I obtained Justice for My Client: Nathan Polite v. Double View Ventures and Westdale Management, LLC.
10 Things You should Know about Georgia's Taxpayer Protection False Claims Act
Special Needs Planning for Trial Lawyers
Workers' Compensation Subrogation in Georgia: A Primer for Plaintiff's Attorneys on Workers' Compensation Lienholder Rights
The Legislative Issue: Spotlight on Legislature Members
Lawyer of the Day is Back
Case Updates: What's New
Workers' Comp: Recent Developments
Welcome New GTLA Members!
Index to Advertisers

Verdict - Winter 2013