Governor Polis Signs Colorado False Claims Act into Law
On June 7, Governor Jared Polis signed the Colorado False Claims Act (CFCA) into law. The CFCA is modeled off the highly successful federal False Claims Act and empowers whistleblowers with knowledge of government contracting fraud to file qui tam lawsuits on behalf of the state. Whistleblowers who bring forth successful qui tam suits are entitled to up to 30% of the proceeds recovered.
“The False Claims Act is the most successful anti-fraud law protecting taxpayers and preventing corruption in government programs,” said leading whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto. “Colorado stands to generate billions in revenues by policing fraud in government sponsored programs, both by deterring violations and holding fraudsters accountable. The Colorado lawmakers who have made these improvements possible should be commended.”
The CFCA was cosponsored by Representative Matt Gray, Representative Mike Weissman, and Senator Faith Winter. The law enhances enforcement efforts against individuals and companies who fraudulently use taxpayer dollars. Types of frauds covered by the CFCA include the submission of false or fraudulent claims to state or local governments and the falsification of records material to false claims.
Prior to the passage of the CFCA, Colorado only had a False Claims Act to cover Medicaid fraud. The CFCA greatly expands the types of contracting frauds which whistleblowers may bring forth qui tam suits over.
The federal False Claims Act was described by an U.S. Assistant Attorney General as “the most powerful tool the American people have to protect the government from fraud.” Since the law was modernized in 1986, False Claims Act whistleblowers have allowed the government to recover over $70 billion. Correspondingly, False Claim Act whistleblowers have received over $8 billion.
Geoff Schweller also contributed to this article.