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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE II EXECUTIVE AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS
    OF THE COMMONWEALTH
  • CHAPTER 12 DEPARTMENT OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, AND THE DISTRICT ATTORNEYS
  • Section 5B False claims; liability

Section 5B. (a) Any person who: (1) knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval; (2) knowingly makes, uses or causes to be made or used a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim; (3) conspires to commit a violation of this subsection; (4) knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, a claim that-includes items or services resulting from a violation of section 1128B of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 1320a-7b, or section 41 of chapter 118E; (5) has possession, custody or control of property or money used, or to be used, by the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof and knowingly delivers, or causes to be delivered, to the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof less than all of that property or money; (6) is authorized to make or deliver a document certifying receipt of property used, or to be used, by the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof and, with the intent of defrauding the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof, makes or delivers the receipt without completely knowing that the information on the receipt is true; (7) knowingly buys, or receives as a pledge of an obligation or debt, public property from an officer or employee of the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof, who may not lawfully sell or pledge such property; (8) enters into an agreement, contract or understanding with an official of the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof knowing the information contained therein is false; (9) knowingly makes, uses or causes to be made or used a false record or statement material to an obligation to pay or to transmit money or property to the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof, or knowingly conceals or knowingly and improperly avoids or decreases an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof; or (10) is a beneficiary of an inadvertent submission of a false claim to the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof, or is a beneficiary of an overpayment from the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof, and who subsequently discovers the falsity of the claim or the receipt of overpayment and fails to disclose the false claim or receipt of overpayment to the commonwealth or a political subdivision by the later of: (i) the date which is 60 days after the date on which the false claim or receipt of overpayment was identified; or (ii) the date any corresponding cost report is due, if applicable, shall be liable to the commonwealth or political subdivision for a civil penalty of not less than $5,500 and not more than $11,000 per violation, as adjusted by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-410 section 5, 104 Stat. 891, note following 28 U.S.C. section 2461, plus 3 times the amount of damages, including consequential damages, that the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof sustains because of such violation. A person violating sections 5B to 50, inclusive, shall also be liable to the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof for the expenses of the civil action brought to recover any such penalty or damages including, without limitation, reasonable attorneys’ fees, reasonable expert fees and the costs of investigation, as set forth below. Costs recoverable under said sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, shall also include the costs of any review or investigation undertaken by the attorney general, or by the state auditor or the inspector general in cooperation with the attorney general.

(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), if the court finds that: (1) the person committing the violation of subsection (a) furnished an official of the office of the attorney general responsible for investigating a false claims law violation with all the information known to such person about the violation within 30 days after the date on which the person first obtained the information; (2) such person fully cooperated with any commonwealth investigation of such violation; and (3) at the time such person furnished the commonwealth with the information about the violation, no civil action or administrative action had commenced under sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, or no criminal prosecution had commenced with respect to such violation, and such person did not have actual knowledge of the existence of an investigation into such violation, the court may assess not less than 2 times the amount of damages, including consequential damages, that the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof sustains because of the act of that person.

(c) A corporation, partnership or other person shall be liable to the commonwealth under sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, for the acts of its agent where the agent acted with apparent authority, regardless of whether the agent acted, in whole or in part, to benefit the principal and regardless of whether the principal adopted or ratified the agent’s claims, representation, statement or other action or conduct.

(d) Sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, shall not apply to claims, records or statements made or presented to establish, limit, reduce or evade liability for the payment of tax to the commonwealth or other governmental authority.

(e) A person who has engaged in conduct described in subsection (a) prior to payment shall only be entitled to payment from the commonwealth of the actual amount due less the excess amount falsely or fraudulently claimed.