Maryland Enacts False Claims Act

On April 8, 2015, the State of Maryland joined the majority of states, including Virginia and the District of Columbia, in passing a False Claims Act, which permits whistleblowers to file claims alleging fraud in government contracting and procurement (including Medicare and Medicaid) and to obtain financial rewards if their allegations are verified.

On February 19, 2014, National Whistleblower Center Executive Director Stephen M. Kohn testified before the State of Maryland’s Judiciary Committee, urging the Assembly to enact a FCA. Kohn testified, “ Maryland stands to recover for the taxpayer billions of dollars in lost revenue from the enactment of a qui tam whistleblower law with protections equivalent to the federal False Claims Act.” 

“The False Claims Act is a proven tool and I am confident it will recoup millions for the state, while creating a level playing field allowing honest businesses to thrive,” Attorney General Frosh said. “It has been effective for the federal government. It has been effective in states all over the country. And it is going to work in Maryland,” stated Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh.

The Maryland law is modeled on the federal False Claims Act. It contains strong anti-retaliation provisions, providing for double back pay and punitive damages if a whistleblower is wrongfully discharged as a result of engaging in protected activities under the Act. However, the law appears to limit or prohibit whistleblowers from pursuing claims against a fraudulent contractor if the State of Maryland declines to intervene or participate in the case.

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