12. Whistleblower/False Claims Act Cases Require Deliberate Acts

FCA cases cannot be based on an accidental event or someone merely making a mistake.

In laymen’s language, False Claims Act cases are about stealing or attempting to steal from the government. By definition theft and fraud are intentional acts. So, in order to have a qui tam case, one must show that the defendant (bad actor) made a false claim for government money or property,  “knowingly,” with “reckless disregard,” or “deliberate ignorance” as to whether the claim was false. Another way of saying “deliberate ignorance” is to say the person “turned a blind eye” to what was happening.

For liability under the FCA, “specific intent” is not required. Legally, acts are classified according to two types of intent: specific intent and general intent. The main difference between the two is that, in specific intent, the defendant intends both the conduct and the result. For general intent, the defendant need only have intention to commit the conduct (act). So, the FCA requires only the proof that the defendant knowingly made a claim knowing it was false. It is unnecessary to prove that the defendant knew what the harm to the government would be.