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Attorney General William Tong


Attorney General Tong Leads Bipartisan Coalition Seeking to Protect Public Funds from Fraud

Coalition Files Amicus Brief Urging U.S. Supreme Court to Adopt Robust, Fair Reading of the False Claims Act

(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong led a bipartisan coalition in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to protect publicly funded programs from fraud by adopting a robust and fair reading of the False Claims Act (FCA). The coalition filed its brief in two Supreme Court cases that consider when a contractor can be held liable under the FCA for overbilling Medicaid.

The FCA is an important law enforcement tool that the federal government and states use when a contractor “knowingly” provides false billing information for some publicly-funded programs – including Medicaid, which covers more than 91 million low-income people across the country. A federal appellate court held that two retail chain pharmacies did not act “knowingly” under the FCA even if they ignored official guidance on Medicaid billing; intended to, and did in fact, submit false information; and reaped a windfall in public Medicaid funds through overbilling.

“The lower court’s rulings gut the essence of the False Claims Act and jeopardizes the integrity of state Medicaid operations. Having a strong interpretation of the False Claims Act is vital for the protection of taxpayer dollars, which is why my fellow attorneys general and I are strongly urging the Supreme Court to right this wrong,” Attorney General Tong said.

Since the Connecticut False Claims Act was signed into law in 2009, the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General, in conjunction with federal and state law enforcement partners, has recovered over $181 million in misspent public healthcare dollars.

The brief argues that the Supreme Court should reverse the lower court rulings, which depart from the FCA’s text and will make it harder to protect public funds from fraud. Instead of the lower court’s unworkable rule, the brief explains why the Supreme Court should interpret “knowingly” under the FCA to allow evidence of what a provider knew or reasonably should have known based on relevant guidance issued by state Medicaid agencies.

The brief was joined by the attorneys general of Alaska, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

The cases are United States ex rel. Tracy Schutte, et al v. SuperValu, Inc. (No. 21-1326) and United States ex rel. Thomas Proctor v. Safeway, Inc. (No. 22-111).

Attorney General Tong was assisted in this matter by Connecticut Solicitor General Joshua Perry, Deputy Associate Attorney General Gregory O’Connell, Assistant Attorneys General Eric Babbs and Karla Turekian, and Administrative Assistant Lynn Strobel.

A copy of the full brief can be found here.

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