HARRISBURG – A recent ruling in federal district court highlights the need for Pennsylvania to enact its own False Claims Act, said Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover), who spearheaded an initiative to ensure taxpayer dollars are not being used fraudulently or misspent.
The U.S District Court awarded $117 million in damages to plaintiffs, which included several states, including Pennsylvania, as part of a global settlement regarding allegations of fraud against Universal Health Services (UHS). Plaintiffs successfully argued UHS violated the Federal False Claims Act and some states also argued the company also violated the state version of the False Claims Act. While Pennsylvania received just over $900,000 as part of the settlement, the Commonwealth does not have the ability to recover Pennsylvania state-specific taxpayer dollars lost to fraud. Grove issued the following statement response:
“States with their own civil liability were able to recover taxpayer money lost to state-specific fraud and the numbers speak for themselves. Take California and New York for example. Their prosecutors recovered $1 million and $1.8 million, respectively, for their taxpayers. After more than 20 years it is well past time for the Commonwealth to enact its own law to create civil fraud law and allow the state to recover taxpayer money lost to fraud.
“To ensure the Commonwealth’s taxpayers are protected from fraud, I introduced House Bill 2352
to create the Commonwealth Fraud Prevention Act.
“The failure of the Commonwealth to adopt a civil fraud statute prevents the state from recovering taxpayer money lost to fraud. Time and time again, Pennsylvania has been limited in its ability to investigate fraud or recover the taxpayer’s money.
Whether it is the state’s unemployment system, the state police’s radio system or the state’s Medicaid program taxpayer money must be protected against fraud. This law would give prosecutors an important tool to combat fraud and allow them to hold those responsible for fraud financially liable while protecting taxpayers.”
Representative Seth Grove
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross