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Passed the last week of the session and going into law in August, is the False Claims Act (FCA). The FCA imposes civil penalties for persons who make false or fraudulent claims for payments of services to the state or its political subdivisions. "It’s the recovery of stolen taxpayer dollars," said Sen. Ron Latz, who championed the bill, along with fellow St. Louis Park DFLer Rep. Steve Simon. "If other states’ experiences are comparable, we could be looking at tens of millions of dollars."

The Attorney General is granted the power to enforce the the act which also provides conditions under which a private plaintiff (whistleblowers) may bring actions to enforce provisions. Expenses and fees may be awarded along with the whistleblowers sharing in recoveries under the new law. The FCA provides additional protection as employers are forbidden from discriminating against employees who cooperate with investigations.

Nationally and in other states, claims have recovered large sums of money for the government and also straightened out numerous examples of fraud upon the government. Hopefully the act won’t be needed very often, but if it is, the new law gives the state another weapon against fraud.

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