Vanderbilt Law Review


Jeremy Johnston

First Page



The False Claims Act ("FCA") deputizes private citizens to combat fraud against the United States government by offering them a portion of the bounty.' This concept has existed in some form for hundreds of years-the strategy of "setting a rogue to catch a rogue." Medieval England used it in place of police forces. The American Colonies caught pirates this way. Even Abraham Lincoln protected the Union Army from faulty equipment by encouraging corrupt military suppliers to report one another. In modern American history, the FCA has proven extraordinarily effective at using this ancient tactic. The Act fines wrongdoers triple the amount of damages suffered by the government, plus $5,000 to $10,000 for every false statement the violator made. Between 1987 and 2013, the federal government recovered more than $27 billion as a result of modern-day privateers coming forward under the FCA to claim their bounties on fraud.